Following the official Level 3 regulations announcement, all real estate services may operate as of Monday, the 1st of June 2020.
CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, Adrian Goslett says that this is good news for the real estate and the country as a whole:
“We need to make sure we capitalize on this opportunity safely … we are only at the start line now of a long recovery ahead. Relentless tenacity, impeccably high work ethic, unquestionable skill, experience and an unbridled passion for the clients we serve will determine the level of our success as we forge ahead in these uncertain times”.
The National Property Practitioners Council has welcomed the announcement too:
“As the largest national industry trade association we are deeply committed to ensuring and prioritising the health and safety of property practitioners, customers and suppliers’ as we navigate new ways of working to fully safeguard livelihoods, restore operations and support the country’s economy. Accordingly, we are convinced that, with the measures we have recommended, the real estate sector is equipped for a safe return to work” says National Property Practitioners Council Chairperson, Vuyiswa Mutshekwane.
According to Tony Clarke, MD of the Rawson Property Group, permission to operate under Level 3 is the result of extended lobbying by the industry:
“Real estate is such a huge contributor to the South African economy, and the source of countless jobs, both directly and indirectly,” says Clarke.
While Clarke is delighted with the resulting decision to reopen real estate under Level 3, he says the discussions with governing bodies are far from over: “Our goal is to have the industry formally reclassified as a Level 4 service to ensure vital continuity should hotspot flare-ups cause a return to stricter lockdowns”.
“We don’t want to end up in a situation where new leases or sales are paused halfway through the process because we went back to Level 4 lockdown and buyers, sellers and tenants were left to their own devices with no professional assistance,” he says. “This was a major issue with the original lockdown, and we want to do everything we can to make sure we don’t end up there again.”
Carl Coetzee, CEO of BetterBond comments:
“The opening of the property sector is particularly good news for buyers and investors, as the prevailing market conditions are geared to favour residential property buyers. With interest rates at 50-year lows, and the threshold on transfer duty raised to R1 million earlier this year, upfront expenses when purchasing a property are lower, making it a buyer’s market for sure. These conditions also present an opportunity for long-term tenants wanting to own their own homes to enter the property market as it’s now more affordable to do so than it has been for decades“.
CEO of Leapfrog, Bruce Swain welcomes the announcement. Leapfrog believes it to be the right decision at the right time:
“We are particularly pleased that the property sector is able to go back to work as it’s an industry that contributes significantly to the GDP and employs in excess of 100 000 people. At a time when our economy is under great pressure and the financial burden on individuals threatens to be crippling, we believe that being able to freely trade property is crucial“.
The South African Institute of Black Property Practitioners applauds the efforts by the Construction Sector Covid19 Rapid Response Task Team and the National Property Practitioners Council in both of which SAIBPP has been represented and played an active role in lobbying for the re-opening of the sector.
Chairperson of the Construction Covid-19 Rapid Response Task Team, Mr John Matthews acknowledged that the easing of lockdown meant that a lot of construction companies on the verge of collapse could be saved:
“We are optimistic that allowing the construction sector to resume full operations will salvage what is left of the sector. We are pleased that the government gave consideration to the concerns we raised and agreed to a full re-activation of the sector under Level 3. Continued restraints on construction activity was leading us towards a situation where there was little hope of a recovery for a lot of companies in the industry“.
“It is not up to the government to try and monitor every office and construction site, but each employer has a responsibility to ensure that the health and safety of employees is guaranteed. The industry has health and safety protocols already in place and any employer in the sector who needs assistance should contact their Association for guidance and support.”
Chief Executive of the Pam Golding Property Group, Dr Andrew Golding:
“It is extremely positive that the real estate industry is to be fully operational again from next month (1 June), as this sector makes a meaningful contribution to the country’s economic activity, taxes and employment, while home ownership is an aspirational imperative for many, providing security of tenure and a nest egg for the future. In addition, estate agents are largely dependent on commission-based income for their survival, while a host of other related sectors including financial institutions, mortgage originators, conveyances, construction and engineering, among others, directly and indirectly derive income and employment.”