South Africa | How to survive a slow property market

The latest economic and property data points to a prolonged period of slow activity for the remainder of the year, says Ross Levin, managing director of Seeff in the Atlantic Seaboard, Waterfront and City Bowl area.

In a market seeing both volumes and values considerably lower than in preceding years - and a growth rate which is experiencing deflation in many areas - conditions are challenged, he says.

At the same time, the challenges are not insurmountable, he adds. He has some advice for buyers and sellers on how to survive the slow market conditions.


Often a buyer ends up buying a property in an area that they weren't originally considering.

There is no reason why you can’t find what you are looking for, as well as a seller willing to negotiate right now.

 Few sellers are achieving their full asking price, and the difference between what is actually being achieved versus expectations can vary greatly.

 Have your "ducks in a row" by ensuring you are pre-approved for bond finance.

If you need to sell your property and buy subject to that sale, have your property valued and either ready to market, or already on the market, as this will strengthen your offer.


Levin says that almost two thirds of his branch's sales over the last year were on sole mandate. In his view, in the current market, this plays an important part in protecting the value of your asset.

 "In a challenging market, you are going to want your agent to be an area expert, someone who is hyper-locally focused and knows and understand the area intimately," he says.

 Price is a tough discussion, but probably one of the most important elements in the positioning and sale of your property, especially in a slow market.

You need to measure what is actually selling, rather than looking at what other properties are listing for.

In a market that continues to see increased stock levels, you need to consider what sets your property apart.

 Be clear with your agent about when you need to sell by. This will determine many aspects of their marketing plan, pricing and strategy for your property.

 It is likely that you will receive an offer that is subject to a bond, sale of another property, or both, along with other possible suspensive conditions. Your agent will advise you about continued marketing within the ambit of the typical "72-hour clause," says Levin.

 To expedite the transfer period, which is typically about three months, look to have your approved plans, title deeds and other documents in place to avoid any delays.

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