After two months of record-breaking sales post hard lockdown, the Rawson Property Group has once again reported outstanding transaction figures for August. This makes three consecutive months of exceptional performance in what has been one of South Africa’s most economically challenging years in recent memory.
Add to this the successful opening of 11 new Rawson Property Group franchises in 2020, and many may ask how the Group seems to have escaped the Covid-19 fallout, unscathed.
“I think this year has been an eye-opener for all of us in property,” says Tony Clarke, MD of the Rawson Property Group. “We were very hard hit with lockdown restrictions – particularly as a largely commissioned-based industry. Thankfully, we were able to use the enforced down time to expand and refine our existing digital tool suite to help our Rawson agents hit the ground running as soon as restrictions were lifted.”
Having won awards for their future-focussed technology in the past, the Rawson Property Group was arguably better positioned than most to adapt to the coronavirus’ new normal. According to Clarke, being able to leverage this familiar technology to engage with buyers, sellers, landlords and tenants safely and effectively, from a distance, has been instrumental to their franchises’ success over the last few months.
Perhaps even more importantly, he says these virtual tools have laid the foundation for a more efficient, convenient and flexible property experience moving forward.
“Forced change is never easy, but it can be for the best,” he says. “We may have embraced tools like virtual show houses, 3D tours and digital paperwork by necessity, but these services have also made us a more attractive, adaptable, future-proof brand.”
As for what that future holds, Clarke says all signs point towards continued market recovery.
“The current surge in market activity is due to the combination of record-breaking low interest rates, excellent value for money on offer, and very motivated lenders offering up to 100% bonds to qualified buyers,” he says. “We don’t foresee those conditions changing for several months at least. In fact, interest rates will likely drop again as we head into the new year, and only start to rise very slowly late in 2021 – nothing dramatic enough to offset the currently favourable buying conditions.”
As market momentum continues, however, Clarke says property prices will begin to climb – a natural reaction to the increasing demand and decreasing oversupply.
“We’re also hoping to see improvements in the economic growth rate, which will boost income, affordability and consumer confidence,” he says. “All of this will contribute to the already high demand for properties, particularly within the low to middle price ranges, and help support stronger price growth in the months to come.”
In the meantime, however, Clarke cautions sellers to remain pragmatic when it comes to pricing.
“Growth is on the horizon – the market is full steam ahead – but it’s important not to pre-empt pricing conditions. Buyers and tenants are well-informed and spoilt for choice. They’re not interested in properties that aren’t appropriately competitive.”