LAST year was the first since 2005 that whites made up less than 50% of the home buyers in the so-called former “white suburbs”.

This was according to FNB’s latest estate agency survey.

Whites made up an estimated 48,5% of total buyers in 2013, according to the survey. “This now starts to represent a significant cumulative shift from the 57% estimate of 2005 when this survey question started,” said Household and Property Sector Strategist for FNB John Loos.

The group classified as “black” under former apartheid era classifications had seen its estimated percentage of suburban buyers rise from 23% in 2005 to 31% in 2013. It was 29,5% in 2012

The two previously disadvantaged minority groups, namely “Asian” and “coloured”, have seen their percentages remain stable over the period.

FNB said the rise in the percentage of buyers from previously disadvantaged groups reflected the impact of employment equity legislation, and the fact that the disposable incomes in these groups had grown at a faster rate than in the white population.

The white population was also “aging”, meaning the pace of home owners from this group exiting the market is probably accelerating over time.

South Africa’s slow economic growth is constraining racial transformation in the residential market, but a further mild rise in the percentage of properties being bought by previously disadvantaged groups was expected in 2014, said Loos.