Employed in higher paying managerial positions or successfully setting up their own businesses, many South African women today are enjoying greater financial independence than they did 10 years ago. The upshot of this is that larger numbers of women are either buying their own residential properties or are co-investing in homes with their life partners.
This is according to Trish Luthulifrom Pam Golding Properties’ (PGP) New Business division in Gauteng, who says todaywomen are more career driven; many are in leadership roles in business and government or have attained success as entrepreneurs.
She says with more disposable income available to them, greater numbers of women have been able to invest in residential property in recent years. PGP property agents report that they have been assisting more and more female home buyers. According to First National Bank (FNB), in May 2014, approximately 10 percent of residential homes in South Africa were bought by women and nine percent by single men, with the balance made up of couples.
“These figures will no doubt come as a surprise to many people, but in fact, single women have been out-buying single men in the residential property market for the last few years. In 2012, FNB reported that nine percent of home buyers were single women and eight percent were men.”
What these figures do confirm is the increasingly important role that women have come to play not only in the residential property market but also in the broader economy itself, she says.
Luthuli says some higher earning women are establishing themselves in their careers prior to starting a family. She explains that many of these individuals are building their wealth portfolios and buying residential properties before they decide to settle down. This has seen a number of successful single women becoming involved in the property market, some buying more than one property for the purposes of investment and in order to diversify their portfolios.
On the other hand, some family women have found themselves compelled to go to work or go back to work because their households have come under increasing financial pressure as the cost of living increases. Luthuli says in many households, women have become the primary breadwinners or at least gained a much greater say in the finances of the home than they would have had a decade ago. She says as couples increasingly share their financial burdens they have observed that many more homes are being co-purchased nowadays.
Luthuli says with greater economic power and with many South African women settling down later in life, it is perhaps not surprising that more women are looking to buy their own properties today.
She says women are generally empowered and responsible so it should not come as a surprise to learn that those who are looking to make investments in the property market are savvy. She says they want the best for themselves and their families so they conduct careful market research in order to ascertain the options available to them and what is required before making any buying decisions. They know that a well-appointed property can be a sound investment that only improves their financial security, she says. “As a consequence, they tend to only turn to trusted property brands with solid track records to assist them.”
The FNB Gauteng Residential Property Review for the second quarter of 2014 suggests that house price growth rate over this period still translates into real house price growth of 1.66 percent year-on-year. According to the review, this points to a still-solid and well-balanced market.
Luthuli says despite the recent increases in interest rates, the right properties in the right areas are still in demand. “We at PGP have a sense that many South Africans are feeling that it is important for them to get involved in the property market now if they have not already done so. Now more than ever, South Africans aspire to own property not only as a means of owning their own homes but also as a sound medium- to long-term investment.”
“While we may still have a long way to go when it comes to the empowerment of women in this country, we have at least made some meaningful progress,” says Luthuli.
She says the residential property market, which has shown greater maturity in this regard in recent years, is aware of the progress made. She says more women are, in the words of that popular Annie Lennox song from the 1980s, really ‘doing it for themselves’.