How social media can impact house prices

Cape Town - The mindset of buyers in an area has not really been explored as a driver of demand for property - and therefore the value of a property, according to Paul Stevens, CEO of real estate group Just Property.

This mindset can be influenced by the "woman and man in the street" and in this regard social media certainly plays a part, in his view.

"While traditional media may focus on the 'bad news' in areas, social media community groups tend to amplify the 'good news'," said Stevens.

He gives the example of a group of mothers being part of a Facebook group. If members of the group recommend a certain school, the view of the area around that school will be positively impacted too, making it more desirable.

"Similarly, a vibrant neighbourhood watch Whatsapp group or a Facebook community page for a particular residential node fosters a strong sense of safety and belonging between residents," he explained.

"And while such a forum would of course discuss crime in the area, their crime-prevention successes will be trumpeted. This in turn projects the impression that the community has taken control. That the area actually is safer. Word gets out, and the node’s reputation improves."

As an area becomes more desirable, house prices also improve. He uses Summerstrand in Port Elizabeth as an example of the positive impact of social media activity which showcased the lifestyle offered in the neighbourhood.

At the same time the neighbourhood security increased visibility and residents commented about this on social media too.
 
“The local high school (Pearson) has seen great changes to its campus as well as academic and sports results... again, all amplified and broadcast on social media," said Stevens.

"Things like these are shifting sentiment, making the neighbourhood seem more attractive to people motivated by lifestyle factors. Property owners have a lot of power in their hands and on their phones.”

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