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Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  30 Nov 2009

PROPERTY: Black Diamonds Hard to Find

 





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The credit crunch over the past two years has caused the percentage of black homebuyers in Johannesburg’s middle and upper-income suburbs to drop dramatically and is slowing the full integration of these areas.

“By 2007,” says Lew Geffen, chairman of Sotheby’s International Realty in SA, "at least 25% of our sales in areas such as Sandton, Killarney and Greenside were to newly-wealthy black buyers, compared to less than 5% just after the first democratic election in 1994.

“Now that number has dropped back sharply to around 15% - even though home prices are down and interest rates have been reduced.”

The problem is not that there is any lack of demand. According to the Unilever Institute of Strategic Marketing at the University of Cape Town, the number of “black diamonds” – or middle-class blacks - grew 15% from 2007 to 2008 and their spending power grew by a whopping 39%. Their average earnings were also higher than those of middle-class whites for the first time.

“What is more, one of the most frequently voiced aspirations of successful black entrepreneurs and recently empowered black executives and managers is to own a home in a sought-after suburb.

Sales to black homeowners were among those hardest hit by the credit crunch that followed the global economic collapse late last year.

“Almost overnight, it became extremely difficult to get home loans, and absolutely impossible to get the 100% loans which many buyers need to finance their purchases. Although they earn well, most have simply not had the time to build up large cash reserves or sufficient collateral to cover the large deposits the banks were asking for, so they were forced to drop their home buying plans."


 
 
 
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