South African Real Estate Auction Review

This past 18 months has seen the commercial and industrial property market in South Africa transform into a sellers market with unprecedented interest being shown from the investor public. The C and I Market is an abbreviation for the Commercial and Industrial market and includes all investment property within these 2 sectors, either for rental return or for owner use.
“One can attribute the revival in interest in this sector to numerous factors” said Alon Kowen, Managing Director of Auction Alliance. Besides the positivity in the economy, the retail boom and the low interest rates, C and I real estate in South Africa remains very competitively priced according to International standards.

Over the past 18 months auctions have become the most popular method of transacting in this sector. The reason behind this is in a buoyant market the sellers are letting the purchasers have a role in determining the price, and this has quite often resulted in the seller’s expectation being exceeded.

This buoyant environment has created a very favourable platform for auctions to take precedent as the preferred method of transacting.

The square meter rate that C and I property sells for is often way below replacement cost and unlike the rest of the world, South Africa is one of the few countries where CBD (Central Business District or Downtown) commercial space trades at a discount to residential.

“This is a clear indication that based purely on supply and demand, growth is predicted in the C and I market in South Africa as apposed to a possible correction in the residential market.

There is also a strong owner occupier market that is fuelling values as the owner occupier does not look at net returns but rather at the long term advantages of owning his own space as apposed to renting. The owner occupier is able to pay a premium over an investor for space that suits his needs, and this stimulates the market.”

Kowen says that the interest that Auction Alliance has received on their C and I auctions has been phenomenal and that Auction Alliance has sold in excess of $400m worth of C and I property on their Renaissance Multiple Auctions this year alone.

The level of foreign interest shown in the C and I market of late is testimony to the good value and potential growth that the markets shows as unlike residential property where foreigners buy because he likes the local beach or the trendy café on the corner, their decision to buy C and I is purely a commercial and not an emotional one.

Kowen ends off by saying that he anticipates the C and I tend to continue throughout 2007 on their auctions however he also anticipates seeing a big revival in auction activity on the residential real estate front.

Reality has set in, and sellers have become far more realistic with their price expectation. This again creates a platform for auctions to take their course as the preferred method of transacting and with realistic sellers in the market place the residential sector once again offers great opportunities not only for home owners but for investors alike.

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