Location, location, location
Insights Team, December 8, 2018

Yes, that home is absolutely gorgeous, but if the location is not right you could end up regretting your purchase in the long run. Here’s why you need to consider the holy grail of “best possible location” when buying a property.

Location is all important because over time, things can change and this may affect the value of your dream home. Your property is an investment in the future and experts all say it’s better to buy smaller (cheaper) in a good location than a mansion in a bad area. “Don’t try to get the best looking house. I’m not saying the way your house looks is not important, but consider the area you’re buying in and the ability of the area to have your house price appreciate…” Lephoi Mokgatle, Nedbank’s Head of Home Loans Digital Sales, told Fin24.

Consider the pointers below before buying a home:

Geographical location. Do your homework and assess if it’s a convenient and reputable suburb – does it have good infrastructure and is it close to schools, shops and places of work?  Are there any environmental factors you should consider – how is the wind (asking for our friends in Cape Town and PE), has the area ever been flooded? Have there been any fires in the area of late, what weather patterns should you be aware of? Those kinds of questions are always good to ask. If you’re looking at a new security estate, Google can be a wonderful research tool. Google the developer to find out if there have been any building issues in the complex – like potential landslides or flood risks.

The neighbourhood. Is it the kind of neighbourhood that suits your needs, budget and your mindset? Consider things like community activities and events, nearby parks and recreation facilities and general great vibes of the people who live there. Spend a bit of time in the suburb and consider if it’s got all the aspects you are looking for in a place to stay.

Safety and security. We live in South Africa, and always need to consider safety and security. It’s important to feel comfortable and secure. Crime can affect property prices when it’s time to sell. Speak to the local residents’ associations or security companies in the area if you’re concerned about crime.

Aesthetics. It doesn’t have to be Pleasantville-perfect, as some areas do rejuvenate and rise in value (note the gentrification of spaces around the world), but it must have potential. It’s good to see what other homeowners are doing in the area to uplift the suburb and bring new life to the overall look of the area. Are they ahead of the trend, or is their version of shabby chic a little too close to being downtrodden and dismal?  (Remember that sometimes neglected areas often have poor service delivery and this affects the upkeep of public spaces like parks and pavements.)

Convenience counts. Even if you don’t have children, the location of schools can affect your property value down the line as people often pay a premium to live close to good schools. Accessibility to places like shops, gyms and offices all play a role – but also remember that can be a double-edged sword; if your potential new home is right next to the shopping centre, noise or traffic could be a deterrent.

Accessibility to major traffic routes. Are you able to access major traffic routes should you need to get across town, or to the airport? As we stated above, you also don’t want to be too close to busy roads – these can be noisy and dangerous.

Future growth and development. The area needs to have some room for growth to support long-term development. This will help to increase the value of the property over time. But do your research, and note that certain developments can degrade the value of surrounding properties – like power plants or municipal waste sites. Even plans for industrial sites or new roads can irrevocably change the landscape and character of a suburb.

Quality of life. An area can look very different on a weekend versus peak traffic times or late at night when restaurants and nightclubs are buzzing. So make sure you visit the property at different times of the day. Noise pollution, gatherings of undesirable people and crime can all affect the way you live.

Talk to your Leadhome expert…

You might also want to chat to a Leadhome local property expert about the pros and cons of buying in a certain area. They not only know the different suburbs and areas incredibly well, but they also know the reasons you should be buying there. In addition to knowing the area, they also have access to all the data and can give you hard and fast figures about why the numbers are growing in a certain area.

And always remember if the location is right, all else will fall into place…


Insights Team
We're the "thinking arm" of Leadhome, combining expertise in data analysis, modelling, sociology, geography, and philosophy to interrogate current trends in the South African residential property market. Proudly contemplative since 2015.

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