Black entrepreneurs drawn to the real estate sector


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Business Day

Business Day reports that black entrepreneurs show an increased interest in a career in real estate. One could speculate that this interest is fanned by changes in demographics, which have seen properties in areas that were less than popular just a few years ago increase dramatically in value.

Business Day quotes Damon Jawitz, the franchise director of Jawitz Properties, as saying that individuals from outside the sector as well as independent estate agents are keen to join an established brand in the sector, either as sales people or franchisees. Jawitz cautions that those wishing to enter the sector should ensure that the brand they wish to join is registered with the Estate Agency Affairs Board and have adequate systems and procedures in place to support their franchisees.

The property market has experienced phenomenal growth over the past few years, turning many ordinary South Africans into millionaires, at least on paper. Those who converted this asset to cash by selling off their properties soon found to their dismay that to replace them with similar properties had become unaffordable.

Not surprisingly, property professionals appear to have done extremely well for themselves during the past few years but indications are that the market has now peaked. Property prices continue to increase, but at a much lower rate that before. Does this mean that those who plan to become property professionals now are heading for disappointment? Not necessarily!

Traditionally, South Africans are not renters but prefer to own their homes. There are strong indications that interest rates will continue to rise and slow down the market further, changes in demographics and the emergence of a growing middle class should ensure that demand for properties remains firm.

One should remember that especially in periods of contraction, those who operate under a strong brand will fare better than independent operators. The reason for this is quite clear: small independents lack the ability to provide the range of services today’s sophisticated purchasers have come to expect from their agents.

Seen from this angle, property franchises remain an attractive option. This was reiterated by the fact that at the FASA-endorsed International Franchise Exhibition (IFE), held in May, a record number of ten real estate companies exhibited. These companies, and many others, remain committed to ongoing expansion and face the future with confidence. And precisely because these companies are aiming to increase their footprints at a steady pace, they offer attractive opportunities to those prepared to take their future into their own hands.

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