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The South African housing backlog is expected to take another two decades to clear and according to the latest statistics from the President's Coordinating Council, 2.1 million homes are still required for 12 million people. Yet, Habitat for Humanity South Africa maintains that simple, decent, affordable housing is a vital platform for effecting change from one generation to the next for families, communities and South Africa at large.
Property24.com has teamed up with Habitat for Humanity South Africa to launch the Property24 Clicks for Bricks Challenge. To contribute towards building the house, visit facebook.com/property24 and simply click on the "like" button.
To make a contribution towards housing in South Africa and raise awareness around the country's housing shortage, Property24.com has teamed up with Habitat for Humanity South Africa to launch the Property24 Clicks for Bricks Challenge.
For every "like" that Property24.com receives on its Facebook page, facebook.com/property24, R5 will be donated towards the R91 000 cost of building a home. The goal is to achieve 18 200 likes, donate the R91 000 to Habitat for Humanity South Africa, and then invite members of the page to be part of the building team that constructs the actual home. Property24.com will share the challenge's progress with its Facebook community via a fun and interactive application that portrays the construction stages of the home being built as the target draws nearer.
Property sales down 42% from peaks
Estate Agents and mortgage originators have in recent weeks reported somewhat of an up tick in show house attendances and housing sales but latest figures from the Deeds office show that sales volumes are still down a hefty 42% from 2006 peaks.
The total value of residential property sales simultaneously slumped by some 37% - from R204,7bn in 2006 to R150bn in 2010.
At the height of the boom, some 400 000 residential property sales were recorded in the Deeds office, according to figures from the Knowledge Factory's South African Property Transfer Guide (SAPTG). That dropped to some 227 000 housing sales in 2010.
The total value of residential property sales simultaneously slumped by some 37% - from R204,7bn in 2006 to R150bn in 2010. It's nevertheless encouraging to see that sales volumes and values recovered some losses last year after housing activity hit an 11-year low in 2009.
Eskom cuts subsidy on solar heaters
Eskom will reduce its subsidy on solar water heaters because the response from 60 000 homeowners has meant that the utility is running out of money to keep paying the subsidy. Eskom planned to have one million solar water heaters installed in South Africa.
Eskom subsidised just 60,000 geysers in one year and at that rate it will take the utility 17 years to reach its target of a million installations.
The subsidy on imported geysers is higher than those on locally manufactured ones. The average subsidy on an imported 300-litre high-pressure geyser is R7 470 down from R9 960. The subsidy on locally made geysers with 80% local content is R8 964.
Eskom introduced the subsidies in 2008 to stimulate the installation of solar geysers and so save energy after sustained blackouts rolled through the country. Eskom had been hoping to install about a million solar water heaters by 2013 but in the first two years, just 2 000 homeowners had installed the solar systems.
Special courts for default judgments
Special courts are being set up to hear cases involving defaulting homeowners who are behind with their monthly payments. Judge President Willem van der Merwe issued a practice note to legal firms informing them how these courts will work.
The decision follows a recent Constitutional Court ruling declaring it unconstitutional for a registrar of the High Court to grant a default judgment to bank or to issue a Writ of Execution.
The practice had been widely used by banks - particularly against low-income homeowners - to gain a default judgment or execute a judgment against property owners who were behind on their bond repayments.
Judge van der Merwe's practice note says that a number of special courts will be set up to deal with applications for a default judgment. This will start operating this week.
He says the number of courts appointed to deal with these applications would depend on the volume of applications received. At this stage a maximum of 150 applications could be enrolled for one day and judges could be asked to deal with up to 50 of these applications.
Niche market for student accommodation
Upmarket student accommodation in Johannesburg's central business district and in Braamfontein is proving attractive and affordable according to the developers, Aengus Property Holdings.
According to Richard Rubin, chief executive of the company, the central business district in Johannesburg had been redlined by many banks who were not prepared to advance any money to prospective buyers or to developers.
"However, this has changed over the years and we currently have eight student buildings comprising 1 740 beds with the city. And the prices for accommodation are affordable with apartments ranging in price from R1 650 to R2 350 a month," says Rubin.
Colour your kitchen
There is a surplus of new and electrifying kitchen décor and design trends this year that are set to excite and tantalise. However, the most exciting trend for this high-traffic, heavy-use area is arguably the inclusion of colour in the kitchen. Colour is one of the easiest and most economical ways to heighten drama and interest in interior spaces - and the kitchen is no exception.
Contemporary coloured countertops and cabinetry
Jason Wells, Marketing Manager for PG Bison, South African panel product manufacturer and distributor, says that in line with this trend, PG Bison has recently added a brand new range of exciting new colours to its collection of High Pressure Laminate (HPL) products that are ideal for kitchen applications: "The aim of increasing the amount of colours is in line with PG Bison's design-focused approach - and our new range of Fresh Colours will no doubt greatly enhance design options."
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