Building houses for the people
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan's has outlined the government's strategy for the next few years in his medium term budget policy statement, referred to by some people as a 'mini' budget.
Lots of clever people have already reacted to it, reported on it, analysed it and deconstructed it. So I'm not about to join in that fun.
One of the goals in the medium term budget policy statement is to create five million jobs and, furthermore, reduce unemployment to 15% or less. Most of the job creation programmes will focus on the younger people in our communities who, at this stage, have almost no hope of being employed.
Well that's a laudable goal but how on Earth will it be achieved in a country where every young person apparently needs to be trained first and only employed later?
Woodstock Upper Eastside to go ahead
The second phase of the Upper Eastside mixed-used development in Woodstock is to go ahead after Nedbank agreed to provide R265-million to fund the development, a 50:50 joint venture between Redefine Property Holdings and Swish Property Group.
The project offers a mix of commercial and residential space as well as a luxury hotel and conference centre. There are three sections within the development with the West, East and South blocks that will provide 12 000 sqm of office space, 2 200 sqm of retail and showroom space and 183 room hotel and conference centre.
There will also be 250 apartments ranging from a 28 sqm bachelor flat to a 143 sqm two bedroomed penthouse. The apartments have granite tops in the kitchen, stainless steel ovens, laminate flooring and tiled showers.
Gautrain impacts property prices
Growth in property prices within two kilometres of Gautrain stations in Johannesburg and Tshwane remains volatile, claims consulting firm Lightstone.
"The proportion of Gautrain-related property transactions has fallen significantly between 2008 and 2010 by about 35 percent for 2km properties, 15 percent for 3km properties and 18 percent overall, to about 5.5 percent overall," property analyst Hayley Ivins says.
"It is possible that there has been a wait-and-see attitude on the part of buyers and investors.
"Now that the train is up-and-running and the retail development has been completed in Rosebank, we're seeing a spike in prices there, mostly in the sectional title market."
An option for first-time buyers?
At least 50% of bond applicants are not granted a loan by banks and almost 60% of people who are self-employed will not qualify for bond finance according to figures compiled by ooba.
Bonds are declined for a number of different reasons that may include a poor credit history, the lack of a deposit, late or slow payment of accounts or even because the bank in question feels that the client is borrowing too much money.
Without a bond - or a substantial amount of cash - it's difficult for anyone to buy a house but particularly so for those first-time buyers who are keen to own their own property.
Rent2Buy is a possible alternative for these people because it sets out to negotiate an agreement between the buyer and seller so that the buyer can rent the property for a predetermined period and then only buy it when that period ends.
Affordable ways to 'go green'
The first thing we all tend to envision, when considering the idea of converting our offices or homes into more eco-friendly buildings that consume less energy, are massive solar panels, solar water heating systems and wind turbines - all of which come at a fairly costly capital investment. The truth is however, that we can all start saving substantial amounts of energy and money, starting today, with very little upfront cost whatsoever.
Below is a short list of three affordable ways to make our homes greener as well as save a significant amount of money on energy bills:
Halloween décor to die for!
Halloween is finally here, and this year why not host a fabulous Halloween party at home for some scary fun? Ideal for both young and old, Halloween parties are really entertaining - it offers an excuse to dress up and be somebody else for the night. It is also the one night when people look forward to all things creepy - so for a successful party, be sure to set the mood and decorate your home accordingly. Here are some easy things you can do to really create the right 'horror-ific' ambience:
Hawkers stealing agents' boards
This weekend, estate agents in East London are likely to be keeping a sharp eye on the boards they put up to advertise show houses and will probably be keen to take them down as quickly as possible once the show day has ended.
But at least a puzzling mystery in the town has been solved. For weeks agent Sue Brownlie, from Landvest Real Estate had meticulously erected her boards but when she went back to collect them, they were always missing.
She couldn't understand it but promptly jumped to the likely conclusion that other agents working in the same area were removing them and carrying them away or disposing of them in some unlikely spot.
SA rents dirt cheap in global terms
South African retailers and office tenants are still paying significantly less to rent their business premises than any of their counterparts in Europe, Middle East or the rest of Africa.
In fact, the average Johannesburg shop owner pays less than 4% on monthly rent bills than that of retailers in London's West End in the UK, according to a report from Broll Property Group, part of the international CB Richard Ellis Network (CBRE).
Broll and CBRE's Rents and Yields report for third quarter 2010 shows that prime retail rents in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban currently average (in euro terms) €253,14/sq m/annum, €316,42/sq m/annum and €354,39/sq m/annum respectively. In rand terms, that translates into an average monthly rent of R200/sq m, R250/sq m and R280/sq m, given the rand/euro exchange rate of R9,50 used in this report.