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Property development and investment is becoming an increasingly attractive arena for entrepreneurs both locally and abroad, with the demand for affordable property on the rise due to rapid urbanisation and changing housing trends.
According to GetSmarter, a wholly-owned subsidiary of digital education company 2U, Inc., property development and investment are among the top skills entrepreneurs are investing in, in 2018.
A career in property development makes good economic sense for those with the patience and know-how to succeed. While many entrepreneurial start-ups favour rapid, short-term growth, property is a long-term investment that has the potential to pay out big down the line. This allows entrepreneurs to plan both short-term and for the future.
Even in a bad economy, investment property tends to perform better than stocks. Land is a finite, and much-needed resource after all. Real estate will also continue to appreciate despite occasional slow-downs in the economy.
The growing property market
As South Africa’s third largest market, there are plenty of opportunities surrounding the property industry.
Sixty-five cities in Africa alone have a population higher than a million people, and with 70% of South Africans expected to be living in urban areas by 2030, the demand for the development of, and investment in, property is quickly overtaking the supply of qualified property developers. This presents huge potential for entrepreneurs looking to move into the market.
A mix of growing urbanisation, economic pressure, and a shift in the way people are choosing to live, has resulted in an increase in the call for convenient, lock-up-and-go sectional title properties. This demand is drawing in a growing number of developers, into what appears to be a longer-term trend.
How to become a property investor and developer
There are a number of ways to make money in the property market, including flipping houses, owning and renting property, developing real estate for sale, and investing in residential and corporate buildings.
Development and investment in property requires a similar personality to that of an entrepreneur – someone who is able to identify and think about opportunities strategically and is willing to take the risks involved in investing in property.
Francois Viruly, Convenor of the UCT Property Development and Investment online short course, says: “You have to walk the streets to find your opportunities. Either it’s an idea looking for a site, or it’s a site looking for an idea.”
Unfortunately, having an entrepreneurial spirit is not enough to really succeed in the property development industry. You also need a practical skill set that gives you insight into the industry, as well as the foresight to make the most of those entrepreneurial risks.
As a developer, you’re banking on your knowledge and talents to create value by converting and upgrading land. So it’s important for entrepreneurs to educate themselves on property, the markets, economics, financing, the development processes, and identifying investment opportunities.
While some of these skills you’ll learn along the way, others can be taught. It’s these skills that entrepreneurs are invested in learning, either in the classroom or through practical online courses.