The cost of home ownership

For Sale sign in Cape Town

Locals (particularly those who haven't travelled overseas) are often surprised to find out how much cheaper property is in South Africa than in many other parts of the world.

Of course, we have very high interest rates compared to many other parts of the world, which pushes the actual cost of property up for us somewhat, as very, very few people can afford to buy property without taking out a mortgage bond. But nevertheless, it's still a whole lot cheaper to buy an average suburban home here than it is in Sydney, for instance.

According to Global Property Guide, Cape Town is the 53rd-most expensive city in the world in terms of property - their comparison is based on the average purchase price in US dollars of a 120-square-metre apartment in a prime inner city area.

Our property market has seen quite a slowdown in the last two years or so (after a massive boom in the four years before that), but it does seem to be slowly (very slowly) starting to pick up again - at least in certain sectors of the market.

2 thoughts on “The cost of home ownership

  1. Nixgrim

    I have to disagree. In purely monetary value, yes, property in SA is cheaper, true. However, when you take into account the value of that money, then buying in Cape Town, particularly, is just as expensive as buying in Sydney or London. I know, because I tried it. On my salary in London I could only afford to buy a house of the size I wanted if I bought in a reasonable suburb miles from my friends and my job – beyond the outskirts of the city. Thus, since I couldn’t afford the time or money for a long daily commute, I had to resort to renting.

    On my return to SA, doing exactly the same job here, I couldn’t afford to buy a house unless I moved out onto the Cape Flats, ie, involving another long commute to work everyday. Fortunately for me, I had had the sense to buy somewhere just before the property boom here in SA, so I actually have a house in the Southern Suburbs. However, the mortgage is still a killer (even now), and I’m still struggling to make ends meet.

    You can’t compare a Pound value with a Rand value – it’s apples and oranges. You have to compare the buying power of an ordinary Brit with the buying power of an ordinary Saffa. If you do that, you’ll see that living here is just as expensive, if not more so, because we have to add in costs for things like insurance, medical aid and school fees (the latter two are provided by the state in the UK).

    For the ordinary South African buying a house in SA is just as expensive as buying a house in the UK is for the ordinary Brit.

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