Getting into the property market early is a savvy move recommended by many financial advisors. Young professionals waiting too long to purchase their first home risk get stuck in the rent trap, while their rent money could be going towards paying off a bond. The problem for many is knowing where to start looking to find a property that they can afford as a first-time buyer.
The average approved bond in 2018 was R836 469 for a first-time buyer. Some first-time buyers might be able to afford a R1 million property, while for others it’s a step or two further up the property ladder. Whatever you can afford, it’s important to get started.
Advice for first-time buyers and other buyers looking to purchase property with a R1 million budget
Industry experts advise first-time buyers not to let themselves be seduced or distracted by frills, as these can be added later. Rather focus on features that add long-term investment value.
- Area – select a suburb that will be in demand for the foreseeable future; either an established popular area or one that is up-and-coming where there is a significant level of investment in development;
- Location – properties in close proximity to amenities such as schools, shops, office parks, etc. will always be sought-after, especially in major cities where traffic congestion is a rapidly growing problem;
- Features like en-suite bathrooms, decent bathrooms, sizeable kitchens and good security systems have more value than pretty polished wooden floors or smart wall units that can be added later.
It’s also best to look at the rental market in the area you are considering. When the time comes to move to a larger property, you may want to keep this property as an investment and rent it out.
Here are some areas around the country where you can find the best value for an investment of R1 million, and the types of house you can buy for that budget.
Midrand currently offers the best value for money, and for around R990 000 one can buy a small townhouse or a two- or three-bedroom apartment. In Fourways, one of the most popular suburbs, one can still buy a one-bedroom apartment for under R600 000 and a modern two-bedroom apartment for just under R1 million.
Brooklyn and Faerie Glen are two of the most sought-after suburbs in Pretoria. They are in close proximity to numerous popular facilities and amenities and demand for property in both suburbs has grown consistently in recent years. In Brooklyn you can buy a modern one-bedroom apartment for between R850 000 and R1 million. In Faerie Glen a two-bedroom townhouse will cost between R750 000 and R1 million, depending on condition and location and, although less often on the market, occasionally one can still find a two-bedroom house for under R1 million.
Durban North is currently the hot spot with a wide variety of properties and, for under R1 million, buyers have a choice ranging from a modern apartment to an older three-bedroom house. Gateway, Malvern and Pinetown also offer great investment value for that price.
If you want to live near the ocean, the best value for money can be found in False Bay in Costa da Gama, Fish Hoek and Muizenberg where you can buy a modern two-bedroom apartment or an older two-bedroom house for under a million. Wynberg and Kenilworth offer excellent value for money in the Southern Suburbs. Residents in both suburbs enjoy access to the same amenities as their more expensive neighbours.
South Africa’s leading home loan comparison service offers a range of home loan calculators to serve that purpose. Start with ooba’s free, online prequalification tool, the ooba Bond Indicator. Then, when you’re ready, apply for a home loan.