Advice and Opinion Research

More women purchasing property today

Employed in higher paying managerial positions or successfully setting up their own businesses, many South African women today are enjoying greater financial independence than they did 10 years ago. The upshot of this is that larger numbers of women are either purchasing their own residential properties, or are co-investing in homes together with their life partners.

This is according to Trish Luthuli of Pam Golding Properties (PGP) New Business division in Gauteng, who was speaking during Women’s Month, August 2014. “Today women are more career driven, many are in leadership roles in business and government, or have attained success as entrepreneurs,” she points out.

Luthuli says that with more disposable income available to them, greater numbers of women have been able to invest in residential property in recent years. PGP property agents report that they have been assisting more and more female home seekers. Interestingly, according to First National Bank (FNB), in May 2014 approximately 10 percent of residential homes in South Africa were purchased by women and nine percent by single men, with the balance made up by couples.

“These figures will no doubt come as a surprise to many people, but in fact single women have been out-buying single men in the residential property market for the last few years. In 2012, FNB reported that nine percent of homebuyers were single women and eight percent were men. What these figures do confirm is the increasingly important role that women have come to play not only in the residential property market but also in the broader economy itself in recent years,” adds Luthuli.

Luthuli says some higher earning women are establishing themselves in their careers prior to starting a family. She explains that many of these individuals are building their wealth portfolios and buying residential properties before they decide to settle down. This has seen a number of successful single women becoming involved in the property market, some purchasing more than one property for the purposes of investment and in order to diversify their portfolios.

On the other hand, some family women have found themselves compelled to go to work, or go back to work, as their households come under increasing financial pressure as the cost of living increases. “In many households, women have become the primary breadwinners or at least gained a much greater say in the finances of the home than they would have had a decade ago,” observes Luthuli. “As couples increasingly share their financial burdens we have observed that many more homes are being co-purchased nowadays.”

Luthuli says that with greater economic power and with many South African women settling down later in life, it is perhaps not surprising that more women are looking to purchase their own properties today.

“Women are generally empowered and responsible so it should not come as a surprise to learn that those who are looking to make investments in the property market are extremely savvy. They want the best for themselves and their families and, in our experience, conduct careful market research in order ascertain the options available to them and exactly what is required before making any purchase decisions. They know that a well-appointed property can be a sound investment that only improves their financial security. As a consequence, they tend to only turn to trusted property brands with solid track records to assist them.”

The FNB Gauteng Residential Property Review for the second quarter of 2014 suggests that house price growth rate over this period still translates into real house price growth, or in other words adjusted for consumer house price inflation in the province, of 1.66% year-on-year. According to the review, “this points to a still-solid and well-balanced market”.

Luthuli says that despite the recent increases in interest rates, the right properties in the right areas are still very much in demand. “We at PGP have a sense that many South Africans are feeling that it is important for them to get involved in the property market now if they have not already done so. Now more than ever, South Africans aspire to property ownership not only as a means of owning their own homes but also as a sound medium to long term investment.”

Trish Luthuli recently joined PGP as its new business executive and brand executive for the Gauteng region. She also sits on the board of the Silulu SesiSwati Lexicography Unit, which was established by the Department of Arts and Culture.

Trish cut her teeth in the world of commercial property while working for a major parastal where she was for several years involved in the building, renovation and commercialisation of the property and land that formed part of the property portfolio of the South African Rail Commuter Corporation. In 2005, Trish’s passion shifted to the residential property market when she acquired one of the first empowerment owned PGP franchises in Roodepoort, Gauteng.

Trish holds a degree in Traumatology and is a trained emergency trauma responder and has also studied in public relations and marketing management. She is also an accomplished public speaker, life coach and voice artist.

“While we may still have a long way to go when it comes to the empowerment of women in this country, we have at least made some meaningful progress. We see this to a significant extent in the residential property market, which has shown greater maturity in this regard in recent years. More women are, in the words of that popular Annie Lennox song from the 1980s, really ‘doing it for themselves’,” concludes Luthuli.