South African women are changing the face of homeownership by purchasing property on their own, without help from a partner and in higher numbers than ever before.
Andrea Tucker, Director of MortgageMe, says this shift shows more women are confident enough to exchange renting for potential returns, peace of mind, and the financial freedom that sole homeownership can provide. “Females owning their own property is a good barometer of women’s’ overall empowerment and economic progress – especially encouraging is that black women are emerging as an important market segment according to data from Lightstone” she says.
Lightstone data also reveals that more women are first-time home buyers in South Africa than men – a trend that has persisted for the past six years where sales to women remain the highest in the 31-to-35-year-old age bracket.
“While the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have slowed economic growth, it does not mean property investment plans have to be postponed. Current market conditions remain favourable, particularly for first-time buyers in the entry-level and affordable market segments,” she says.
Tucker adds there are numerous reasons why property is still a great investment option. “Done intelligently, property investment is an excellent vehicle for wealth creation. Obtaining a loan to fund the purchase, or a part of it, is relatively easy compared to other investments”.
Because property is typically a more stable investment than shares which fluctuate more frequently, it remains a great long-term investment tool says Tucker. “For women, home ownership is a viable route to financial independence, irrespective of age. According to the World Economic Forum, women have 30 – 40% less money than men for retirement. Selling a paid off property can add a much-needed boost to a woman’s retirement savings later in life.”
Six tips for female property investors:
- Start with where you are at. Get financially fit by finding out your credit score, paying off as much short-term debt as possible, knowing exactly how much you have on hand for a deposit, and understanding your own finances inside out.
- Do your research. Give a lot of thought to the type of property you’d like to purchase, the area, your price range, and the costs involved in maintaining your preferred property type.
- Set a budget and get pre-approval. Set your budget and stick to it. Getting pre-approval for a home loan not only makes you a more competitive buyer, but it also helps you stick to viewing properties within your means.
- Minimise risk. Ask questions. And then ask more questions. Don’t be afraid to get clarity on anything from clauses in an offer to purchase, the ins and outs of buying to rent, your legal responsibilities as a buyer.
- Know the costs. Educate yourself about the costs involved in everything from conveyancing fees, transfer duties, possible repairs or renovations to your new property, and everything in between.
- Shop around. Compare estate agent fees, interest rates from banks, and conveyancers. By crunching the numbers you’ll have a good idea about what you can reasonably afford to take your next big step towards financial freedom.