Advice and Opinion

2017 Virtual Reality Report: most ‘hashtagged’ hoods and other trends

PropertyFox has released its second annual Virtual Realty report, using social media metrics to identify the most ‘hashtagged’ neighbourhoods and corresponding property trends. This year’s deep dive into the ‘virtual neighbourhoods’ revealed that insiders are loving the outliers – people are moving further away from city centres to enjoy increased space at potentially more affordable rates.

Tapping into the social conversation, PropertyFox partnered with research house Metric to sift through some 60 000 hashtags, posts and comments from South African residents. Crispin Inglis, PropertyFox co-founder, says that 2017’s report ramps up the research, with increased insight into up-and- coming areas, year-on- year property price growth, lifestyle trends and some of the most hashtagged restaurants and bars per city.

“Cape Town is the most mentioned city once again, followed by Johannesburg and Durban. Camps Bay remained the most hashtagged hood in the country, with newcomers Hout Bay and Umhlanga coming in second and third, respectively. Sandton fell to number seven on the list from second place in 2016. Interestingly, Bloubergstrand, Soweto and Sunningdale all made the top ten list for the first time this year.”

Inglis believes that in the midst of the economic downturn, people are adopting a longer-term outlook on property investment: “Instead of buying a smaller place in a trendy suburb then moving in a few years when a bigger house is desired, people are looking to reduce transfer fees and the other costs of a sale by purchasing a larger home in a more affordable area from the get go.”

Property investors will be interested to note that areas that are enjoying more Insta attention are frequently seeing improved year-on- year average property price growth as well. For example, Sunningdale saw the most hashtag growth of all the hoods, with a corresponding 3.8% increase in property investment. Bloubergstrand saw 11.54% growth from 2016 to 2017, while Soweto enjoyed marginal growth of 1.6%. Other areas of interest included Centurion (2.2% growth), Braamfontein (2.2% growth), and Durban’s Port Shepstone, which was the clear winner with 16.75% year-on-year property price growth.

In terms of restaurants and bars, three of the most hashtagged restaurants across the country were Grand Africa Café & Beach in Cape Town, Marble in Joburg and Eyadini Lounge in Durban. Many Mother City hashtags were foodie oriented, with #wine, #foodie and #winetasting being the top tags in this space.

Influencers were found to play a crucial role in driving the popularity of places to eat and socialise. Inglis says, “Social media is a currency of credibility. When an influencer raves about a restaurant, it’s not long before everyone’s eating there – for example, Tshepang Mollison (aka @twiggymoli) is known for posting gorgeous foodie snaps from around SA, which no doubt catalyses more business for these institutions. The same goes for areas and property trends.

Food is something Twiggy remembers from her childhood in Soweto – Joburg’s second most hashtagged hood – where she continues to live today, “I live in Soweto because my family has always lived there. In living here, I have been exposed to the vibrant people of Orlando West and the traditional delicacies that can’t be found anywhere else in South Africa. There’s a certain confidence that is instilled in us just by being from there and that’s something that I will embrace forever.”

Inglis concludes, “We’re so excited to share this report with South Africa. It’s amazing how much insight can be gleaned from a social platform and how closely it corresponds to the current property market trends in play. It’ll be interesting to see if investors use the report to jump on the next up- and-coming areas – there’s a definite trend for people to move outside the city centres, with some folks willing to commute more than 40km each day in exchange for a bigger home at a better price.”

Read more here: 2017 Virtual Realty Report