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The advantages of downsizing your house extend beyond money

There has been a trend towards building and buying smaller homes, for reasons that go beyond money.

Advantages of downsizing

Article summary

  • Land scarcity, convenience and security are some of the things that guide a decision to buy a smaller home.
  • Lock-up-and-go properties are easier to manage and maintain.
  • Sectional title homes are proving to be popular choices.

There is an ongoing trend towards building and buying smaller homes for reasons that go beyond money. These include land scarcity, convenience, security and a growing awareness of environmental impact (such as water scarcity).

Land scarcity

Land scarcity has affected the average size of full title stands as well as average building size, which has dropped from “a 203 square metre peak for those built from 1970-1974 to 162 square metres for buildings built from 2015 to 2017,” according to FNB property analyst John Loos in a interview.

Declining fertility rates

In the same article, Loos said, “Declining fertility rates and a smaller average size of household has also contributed to the demand for a smaller sized home with less bedrooms on average.”

Life stages

Millennials (people born between 1981 and 1996) want accommodation in the urban centres to be close to work opportunities and jobs, and to avoid the inconvenience of traffic congestion. Empty-nesters look for the convenience and security of the lock-up-and-go type property that also generally requires less maintenance.


People are choosing location above space, with sectional title developments being one of the options fulfilling this need.


Mixed-use developments, lifestyle estates and apartment blocks offer security 24/7, incorporating guards, CCTV and access control. If you’re in a smaller home that is freehold, the costs of securing the property will be reduced.

Environmental impact

A smaller house has a reduced energy requirement – so less space and water heating, less cooling in some areas and less lighting. Those without gardens, or water-wise gardens at least, save water as well.

Get into the market

More and more South Africans are wanting to buy smaller homes. If you’re one of them, and are keen to secure a 100% home loan, look to South Africa’s leading home loan comparison service, ooba, to help you secure your home loan.

Banks are once again offering 100% loans to first-time buyers and the current lower interest rates make it a better time for consumers looking to buy. Start with working out what you can afford on a bond with ooba’s range of home loan calculators.

You can also click here to access ooba’s free, online prequalification tool, the ooba Bond Indicator. Then, when you’re ready, you can get prequalified or apply for a home loan with ooba.

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