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#BizTrends2021: Revitalising property markets through inner-city investment and refurbishment
South Africa - BizCommunity
South Africa's property sector, in general, has shown poor performance during the Covid-19 pandemic. Property stocks have taken a significant hit, where retail and commercial office space have been hit hardest and even some industrial property holdings have been affected. And none of these markets are showing signs of recovery yet.

Lower-income affordable housing – and inner-city housing in particular – has performed better than most other property markets in South Africa over the same period. Residential property as an asset class in South Africa, when compared with other international markets such as the US and Europe, is a very small sector. Hence, its performance in the face of the pandemic speaks to the resilience of inner cities, and the opportunities that lie in urban densification.

The urban densification imperative
Urban densification is a national imperative. It is happening, as part of a natural demographic trend that happens as countries develop. It happened in Europe in the 1700s, and in America in the 1800s, as people flocked to cities for better access to food, security, entertainment and services. It is now happening in Africa and South Africa is no exception. But South Africa’s urban development, and its approach to making housing investments in particular, have contributed to enormous and unsustainable urban sprawl as people continue to flock to urban areas and inner cities.

Just Property - a forecast for 2021's property landscape
South Africa - PropertyWheel
As the property industry returns to work in 2021, Paul Stevens, CEO of Just Property, a national real estate group, has provided his property landscape forecast for the year to come:

Customer service
Paul believes that buyers, sellers, landlords, and tenants will be looking for more value in the services that are offered to them, leading to an even more competitive business environment. Practitioners in the real estate sector need to ensure that the focus is shifted from a transactional business to a relationship-based business.

“Service levels in our industry are generally very low, especially considering that we are dealing with major investments that often involve major emotions too. For the person selling, buying, or renting a home, it is a very personal thing and an opportunity to touch hearts and influence people. We have to become customer-obsessed,” he says.

Clients need out of hours access, but don’t expect firms to respond
UK - Today's Conveyancer
The latest industry roundtables from Today’s Wills & Probate and Today’s Conveyancer have focused on the way in which technology has helped law firms to cope with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In many ways, the pandemic has forced a rethink of the way in which the customer interacts with businesses and those who have traditionally had a high street footprint have struggled. The death of the high street has been on cards for some time but the closure of non-essential shops throughout lockdown has seen many organisations who are not geared up for digital, suffer. This has been particularly acute for retail and fashion.

The roundtables have highlighted a feeling in firms that Covid-19 has sped up the need to be “online,” with greater emphasis on managing client interactions. There is an array of tools to help lawyers onboard clients and manage transactional matters such as private client and conveyancing.

Organisations need to find ways to better cater for client’s changing preferences. 2019 saw the volume of Google searches undertaken on mobile exceed the number on desktop. Consumer preferences change; lawyers must change with them.
Today's Conveyancer

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