The recent Stats SA General Household Survey (GHS) 2014 highlighted that almost half of South African households (48.7%) had at least one member with access to the internet.
Connectivity was highest in the Western Cape (62.1%), Gauteng (59.9%), and the Free State (48.7%).
The dawn of technologically advanced cell phones has undoubtedly improved South Africans’ ability to gain access to the internet. A recent Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers’ (KPCB’s) “Internet Trends 2015” presentation showed that over half of South Africa’s Internet traffic comes from mobile phones. There are almost 23 million smartphone users nationally.
As South Africa’s first and largest online real estate agents we have witnessed an ongoing increase in online enquiries as well as the increased use of mobile devices by clients to scout properties and areas, and to educate themselves on potential investment markets.
With apps such as Google Maps that can be downloaded to your mobile phone, potential home buyers are able to browse property listings from the comfort of their keypad.
Having a direct link to Google Maps on a property listing means potential buyers can zoom in on the home from a 360 degree angle as well as investigate surrounding areas for amenities like schools, shopping centres etc. Similarly, a home owner with a desire to know what comparable properties in their area are on the market for can easily gain access to this information online as well as take a detailed look at the properties for sale.
Foreign investors and out-of-province buyers and sellers have instant access to geographically-distant listings at the press of a button. Buyers and sellers are now very savvy about the property market, which is going to continue to shift online.
As internet access becomes cheaper the volume of connected citizens will increase and ultimately most activity in the property market will take place online.
David de Waal (CA(SA))
CEO Steeple – The Low Commission Estate Agents