Crime now less of a concern for homebuyers

Crime and safety concerns now appear to be playing a less pivotal role in property buying decisions than in previous years.

Instead, according to Gerhard Kotzé, CEO of the ERA South Africa property group, affordability is the big issue, with economic considerations such as electricity prices, commuting costs and rates and taxes coming to the fore.

“Crime is of course still an issue, and there are always some areas that buyers will perceive as absolute no-go zones, no matter how many security measures a particular home has in place.

“However our agents report that for the most part, crime has moved lower down the order of priority when it comes to buyers ticking the boxes in favour of a property purchase. The emphasis also appears to have switched away from the incidence of crime in an area to what specific security measures are in place.

“It’s as if South African homebuyers now see crime as part of everyday life in most suburbs and so expect that as a matter of course there will be adequate precautions in place in terms of the property itself and in the neighbourhood. They only really notice if there are no security provisions.”

Meanwhile, Kotzé says, it was interesting to note the decrease in crime during the Soccer World Cup, which many commentators predicted would attract predatory criminals of all kinds.

“Instead media reports indicated that crime incidents were actually lower countrywide during the event and were in fact the lowest of any World Cup event to date, with police making just 447 arrests relative to the 5,7m fans who viewed the 64 games in stadia or fan parks.

“The key in this respect was obviously the 44 000 extra police recruited for the event and mostly deployed around the stadium grounds and fan parks. This proves that crime in South Africa is controllable given sufficient resources and proper planning, and makes one think about the positive effects it would have on the economy in general and the property market in particular if this commitment to proper policing could be maintained.”

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