Broll's Elscke Badenhorst: Investors have to take advantage of lower property prices

The group's FD says after a period of stagnation, like lockdown, there is usually a boom of activity.

There is no doubt that the property sector has been hit hard with the impact of Covid-19 and lockdown. Many property groups, like Redefine Properties, have voiced their concerns that lockdown may not have been the best route for South Africa to take in its fight against the spread of Covid-19.

However, Broll Property Group FD Elscke Badenhorst believes that, while South Africa certainly seems to be headed towards a period of slower growth, we can all play a role in adding value to the property sector and rebuilding the economy. 

“Property investors have the potential to make good returns if they take advantage of lower property prices,” she explains. “After a period of stagnation, which is almost similar to what the lockdown has caused, it is normal for there to be a boom of activity.”

Elscke adds that there is no quick fix to recovery, but that factors such as oversupply of inventory, lower interest rates and bargain hunting all have the potential to play a role in normalising the property market. “Whilst saying that, sterner investment criteria and diversification of properties within portfolios will also be vital.”

For Broll Property Group, a business continuity plan (BCP) has always been a key initiative in an ongoing process of fine-tuning. On 12 March, two weeks before the President’s lockdown announcement, Broll put its BCP to the test at a bigger scale than ever before. Group CEO Malcolm Horne says the company was extremely pleased with the results, which yielded solid proof that Broll has a fully functioning BCP and can operate without any hitches as a remote business across South Africa. 

As its next steps, Broll plans to stay ahead of the curve and focus on further fine-tuning its BCP. "We're always in the mould of making ourselves better and better. Our next goal is to ensure that the six people who could not work are up and running – we have no doubt we'll achieve this through the valuable lessons learnt." 

Malcolm appreciates the experience as an invaluable learning process for the business. "To see theory meeting practice was vital – it proved that our BCP works. We have no doubt this first step has set us up on a path to 100 percent success," he says. "This is a proud moment in our history, and we hope that we are setting the trend for other property companies to follow."