It's a great time to sell property, too

Much has already been said about this being a good time to buy property – and it is – but the other side of that coin is that it is also a good time for existing homeowners to sell and move to a different property.

“Many owners are still in a holding pattern, waiting and hoping for property prices to get back up to pre-recession levels,” says Lew Geffen, chairman of Sotheby’s International Realty in SA. “But the fact is that if they delay much longer, they risk losing out on all the advantages that the current market has to offer sellers.”

At the upper end of the market especially, he says, these advantages include some exceptional opportunities to upgrade – precisely because prices are still well-off their 2007/8 highs.

“Increasingly, sellers in this sector are realising that while they might have to lower their price expectations somewhat, it is worth doing so in order to be able to buy a better home, also at a reduced price, and benefit from the relatively bigger capital gains on a more valuable asset once prices do start to rise.

“This is the old ‘sell low and buy low’ principle at work and we are selling scores of multimillion-rand properties now as it kicks in.”

However, Geffen says, upgrading is not the only good reason to sell now. “For example, those who are ready to downsize for retirement or in order to cut home maintenance costs can also acquire smaller homes more cheaply now, and keep more of the proceeds from the sale of their existing home.”

It is also a good time to sell, he says, in pursuit of an improved lifestyle. “If you want to spend less time commuting to work, perhaps, or move to a more secure location, or live closer to other family members, now is the time to make the change.The market is on the brink of an upturn, and it will shortly cost you a lot more to do so.

“Rising prices don’t only mean more expensivereplacement homes, but also higher transfer costs- and higher qualification requirements for home loans, which will be exacerbated when interest rates start moving up again, which they are expected to do next year.”

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