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SA house price growth slows further
The South African residential property market seems to be reflecting recent economic weakness, with house price inflation slowing yet again.

According to the FNB House Price Index, the average house price for March 2015 rose 5.3% year-on-year. This is slightly slower than the previous month’s revised 5.6% and continues the slowing year-on-year price inflation trend of recent months.

Despite the nominal inflation slowdown, however, house prices in recent months continue to grow positively in real terms, when adjusted for CPI inflation. As at February (March CPI stats not available yet), real house price inflation was 1.7% year-on-year, kept in positive territory by a sharply lower CPI inflation rate of 3.9%.

The average price of homes transacted in March was R994 718.

Western Cape property rentals robust
According to the most recent TPN Rental Payment Monitor, 86% of South African tenants were in good standing in 2014, making last year a positive story for both tenants and landlords alike according to Shaun Groves, newly appointed National Rental Manager at Jawitz Properties, who says the Western Cape continues to be the province with the most tenants in good standing, coming in at 89%.

The most volatility is found at the lower and top ends of the rental market, where landlords need to be cautious when taking on new tenants.

Groves says it is advisable that landlords use an established rental agency with high levels of quality control. He says reputable agencies use every mechanism at their disposal, including multiple credit bureaus and acquiring bank codes through the applicant’s own banking institution to gauge affordability.

Seeff's property advice videos on YouTube
Seeff Sandton has recently launched an initiative on the video sharing website YouTube, where experts from this office share their real estate insights and other information with the public.

Charles Vining, Managing Director of Seeff in Sandton says the objective of this initiative was to offer no-strings-attached, simplified, honest and valuable information about property transactions to buyers, sellers, renters and anyone else who is interested.

In addition to the real estate advice that is offered on this channel, there are also legal experts and financial specialists who offer guidance pertinent to property transactions in South Africa.

Furthermore, he says property lingo is explained in layman’s terms and difficult concepts are simplified, among other things.

Can I cancel offer? Agent misrepresented facts
A Property24 reader asks:
My partner and I made an offer to purchase on a house which was accepted and is already with the conveyancer. Before making the offer I asked the agent what the status of the next door house (a very large property) was. I asked whether it was a quest house or something similar. He replied it was just a "big house".

Now, after my own investigation, I found that it is in fact an events venue, serving drinks to the public and hosting parties that start at 10pm and even flea markets. This in the middle of a residential area. There is no signage outside and we were completely dependent on the agent for the information.

How to protect your rental deposit
Whether moving in or out of a rental property, tenants want to ensure their deposit is protected according to Sheree Peach, Residential Rentals Manager at Renprop, who says that when moving into a rental unit, tenants will need to pay a deposit, which is usually based on one month’s rent, sometimes two, as well as whatever rental amount has been agreed upon in the lease.

Rental deposits are then held in an interest-bearing account for the duration of the lease term, with the interest accumulating for the tenants’ benefit.

Beware of the 'phantom' landlord and scams
Consumers in the Western Cape Metro are being warned to be aware of the ‘phantom’ landlord according to Dexter Leite, Pam Golding Properties’ (PGP) rental manager for the Western Cape Metro region, who says regrettably, and particularly of late, he has come across an increasing number of scams or would-be scams perpetrated on aspirant tenants.

Leite says this is not only to the detriment of the potential tenant, who is then significantly out of pocket, but also damaging to the legitimate rental property industry, which is subject to regulation by the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB).

He says while there are variations to the scam, the sequence of events which unfold generally follow along the same line.

Buying property from a developer? Read this
With a residential property development boom being predicted in Cape Town, attention is brought to the extensive building that is taking place in many of the surrounding areas, where old buildings are being demolished to subdivide properties and build new units, or substantial alterations are being made to existing buildings according to Lanice Steward, managing director of Knight Frank Residential SA, who says if a property is purchased from a developer, the building may be covered against structural defects for up to five years from the date of occupation, as part of the National Home Building Registration Council’s (NHBRC) warranty scheme.

However, she says this is dependent on the builder, as well as all of his subcontractors being registered with the NHBRC. In addition, to the builders being registered, the building itself must be formally enrolled with the NHBRC.

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