Best opportunity in years for first time buyers, upsizers

Best opportunity in years for first time buyers, upsizers

Property market fears overblown - first time buyers, upsizers have rare opportunity.

Slower property market conditions present the best buying opportunity in years for first time buyers and upsizers according SA's leading mortgage originator.

Saul Geffen, Chief Executive of ooba (formerly MortgageSA), says that while there are fears in the property market from higher interest rates and a slowdown in price growth, buyers should recognise that these conditions are a actually positive for those wanting to get on the property ladder and those looking to upsize.

"It's a buyer's market now out there, with much more realistic sellers. But the current level of fear in the property market is overblown as the situation is temporary and directly linked to interest rates. As soon as interest rates come down, which is expected in the last quarter of this year, price growth will accelerate with demand.

"After prices soared in 2003 and 2004 in particular, price growth is now falling into single digits but likely to pick up next year and especially towards 2010 when we may well see increases of over 15%.

"Like all investments, savvy people with a longer term time frame capitalize on these softer times to make purchases."

Geffen notes that first time buyers have had a tough time of it of late but now they have more power and should use it to negotiate a good deal.

"However, if you want to move onto the ladder, good preparation is important so you can move quickly. And that means getting pre-qualified for a home loan and keeping an eye on the market in the area you want to move to.

"The tip is to be well researched and haggle hard."

Geffen also points out that it is also much more advantageous to move up the ladder in a slowing market, something that existing homeowners often overlook.

Hello ooba news

ooba (formerly MortgageSA) welcomed the 0.5% interest rate cut announced yesterday by the South African Reserve Bank which will save South African home owners an estimated R259m in home loan repayments each month, but says more cuts are needed.

According to a new poll by South Africa's leading property listings website, nearly a third of home hunters decide that a property is right for them before they even enter the house - and a kitchen is overwhelmingly the most important room when it comes to the buying decision. has entered into a partnership with to provide access to the latest fractional ownership listings which will be available from the 12 December, 2008.

South Africans spent over R10 billion during the festive season last year. This year ooba suggests carefully planning your holiday season spending to avoid a financial hangover in January 2009. "Festive season debt can take months to pay off in the new year," says Jenny Rushin, Provincial Sales Manager for ooba (formerly MortgageSA).

Weak economic conditions, higher interest rates and the global credit crisis have forced banks to be far more picky about who they will lend money and less generous with their lending rates. But Mary Jane Lefevre, Regional Sales Manager of ooba, said that before you apply for a home loan, there are steps you can take to improve your credit status and encourage lenders to look more favourably on your application.