While the recent decline in commodities prices has cast a dampener on economic growth in Africa, huge population growth coupled with major investment in infrastructural improvements, including telecommunications, transport and the financial sector, augurs well for the future of the continent’s burgeoning housing market, says Dr Andrew Golding, chief executive of the Pam Golding Property group.
“Population growth alone is expected to double to the year 2050. A rapidly increasing middle class with growing spending power and high aspirations is fostering a culture of wealth creation and spearheading a drive towards home ownership on this diverse continent. According to the World Bank, the key Sub-Saharan region’s growth, although projected in 2015 to average 3.7 percent – down from 4.6 percent in 2014 – is still expected to pick up to an average of 4.4 percent and 4.8 percent in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
“As Pam Golding Properties continues to grow its footprint and presence in Africa through local partnerships, marketing prime real estate in brand new, world-class developments in countries such as Nigeria and Uganda, among others, we are proud to receive global recognition at this year’s prestigious International Property Awards held in Dubai on 11 November (2015).”
For the sixth year in succession Pam Golding Properties won the Five Star Best Real Estate Agency award for South Africa and the regional award for best in Africa for the fifth year. This year, entering the website category for the first time, they also won the Five Star award for Best Real Estate Agency Website in South Africa and Africa.
Judged according to stringent criteria by an independent panel of 70 industry experts, the Africa and Arabia Property Awards celebrate the highest levels of achievements by companies operating in all sectors of the property and real estate industry. Judges focus on design, quality, service, innovation, originality and commitment to sustainability. Worldwide, this year’s awards received more than 2 000 entries from over 110 countries.
Competing against top winners from companies around the globe, PGP now goes forward as an international nominee in both categories for the 2015 International Property Awards ‘World’s Best’ to be announced in London on 7 December 2015.
Commenting further Dr Golding says: “In the dynamic and increasingly competitive real estate environment these achievements highlight the growing global emphasis placed on achieving the highest levels of service and professionalism, innovation and technology within the property industry. Receiving these awards recognises our constant pursuit of excellent service and high innovation as we constantly aim to set benchmark standards for the industry.
“A requirement for entry to the Best Real Estate Agency award is that it is based on one selected office within the organisation. This year we focused our entry on our high performing office in Stellenbosch in the Cape Winelands, where the residential property market incorporates an eclectic mix of historic and modern, abounding with variety of choice to cater for the market’s broad range of requirements and price ranges.
“With little scope for new land for development, which means the town cannot grow but can only densify, the sustained, strong demand for residential property generally exceeds the supply, thereby translating into stock shortages and sound capital appreciation for home owners and investors across the board. Being a student town, Stellenbosch has a higher percentage growth in property prices than the national average – a trend evident both locally and globally. Over the past 10 years or more, residential property prices in the area have appreciated by at least 10 percent per annum. As a result, the area is sought after not only by those seeking a primary or leisure acquisition, but also by investors seeking to diversify their portfolios.
“Cosmopolitan and buzzing, yet scenic and tranquil, enabling residents to enjoy quality town life – with the emphasis on family – instead of hectic city life, Stellenbosch really does offer the best of both worlds. The wide variety of homes in the town and its surrounds range from convenient apartment accommodation, spacious family residences and unique heritage homes to luxury lifestyle estates and agricultural or lifestyle farms.”
Dr Golding says following global trends, Africa is undergoing an internet revolution with massive growth in mobile and internet access, which currently stands at approximately 27 percent of the continent’s population, with the pace of technical advances set to further escalate in the coming years ahead. Increasingly, the huge advances in technology are changing the way people and countries conduct business, including property transactions.
“Being awarded Best Real Estate Agency Website is particularly gratifying, given that our new site was two years in the making – in partnership with Quirk, and was only launched in June this year (2015). This affirms the importance we place on our interaction with consumers seeking to acquire their ideal home through a range of devices and means – with the internet very often the mechanism that most buyers use to begin their search, viewing neighbourhoods and key aspects to suit their needs, and properties.”
Currently receiving approximately 300 000 visits each month from over 200 000 visitors from in excess of 200 countries around the globe, the PGP website incorporates cutting edge innovations all designed to ensure an effortless user experience to help buyers find a property which caters for their own particular lifestyle.
“We spent a great deal of time understanding the journey that both buyers and sellers alike take when they engage with web-based property platforms and have structured our site so as to add unique value to this journey, to make it both easy yet also insightful and rewarding. For example, there is a unique ‘draw search’ capability, which allows buyers to graphically identify the area and roads of a particular suburb that they would like to live in, with their search results then being served accordingly. There is also the option to search various lifestyle collections, as well as a unique pinboard facility which allows for the easy building of a personal property portfolio, which can then be shared via email with family, friends or our agents – to gain a better understanding of our clients’ property preferences,” says Dr Golding.