Property 24/10 - 91

Banks giving 100% home loans, buy now!
Property prices in South Africa recorded a positive year-on-year growth of 6.2 percent in December 2011, according to mortgage originator ooba.

The mortgage originator says although this increase is a positive development for the local residential property market, it predicts that the market will continue to trade sideways in 2012.

The December oobarometer price index revealed that the average house price rose to R870 564 from R819 977 a year earlier.

A month-on-month increase of 3.6 percent was also recorded in December.

The growth in the average purchase price among first time buyers showed a significant increase, with year-on-year (y/y) growth of 14.5 percent to R656 230 in December 2011 from R573 112 a year earlier.

Saul Geffen, chief executive of ooba anticipates that residential property prices will continue to drift sideways throughout 2012 and doesn’t expect the average annual property price growth to exceed inflation by much this year.

SA investors cash in on student homes
A shortage of student accommodation at universities and tertiary institutions has seen old office blocks being turned into upmarket student homes.

The shortage of student accommodation and funds to build new residences has led some universities in Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth and Durban to outsource their accommodation to private developers and building managers, says Richard Rubin, chief executive officer of Aengus Property Holdings (APH).

He says there is an ever increasing investor appetite for this type of housing and the private sector is in an ideal position to step into the breach.

APH is known for its inner-city regeneration projects, urban renewal and a new wave of fashionable inner-city living.

The developer is one of the leaders of affordable yet upmarket accommodation within the city centres across the country converting old office blocks into upmarket accommodation for university students. 

Home buying decade, grab that bargain
Standard Bank reckons the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) will keep the repo rate at its current level for the duration of 2012.

The bank expects the SARB policy tightening to commence in the second quarter of 2013.

This was revealed in the Standard Bank Property Insight report that indicates that the residential property market would be prudent not to expect any stimulus from monetary authorities via the lowering of interest rates in 2012.

The SARB Monetary Policy Committee will announce its decision on interest rates on Thursday this week.

The Standard Bank’s median house price contracted by -0.4 percent year-on-year (y/y) in December from a growth rate of  -1.0 percent y/y in November.

Sibusiso Gumbi, Standard Bank property research analyst says consumer purchasing power is forecast to remain under pressure in 2012, with inflation expected to average 6.2 percent in 2012.

“A continued moderation in credit uptake, uncertain labour prospects, and subdued consumer confidence are likely to peg property price growth in the low single digits over the course of 2012.”

After auction can lease be cancelled?
A Property24 reader asks:
After reading this article ‘Can new landlord cancel my lease?’ where a reader queried the new owner’s right to break the lease he had with the previous landlord after the property was auctioned, this reader felt that the matter should be further clarified.

“What if the property was sold at a sale in execution and not simply via the auction process?”

Alan Levy, an attorney at Alan Levy Attorneys who specialises in evictions, rent recoupment and landlord/tenant law replies:

The Scenario where a property is sold via a sale in execution (a sheriff’s sale) is not the norm. The norm is where a property is sold on the open market. 

Special Economic Zones, comment needed
The draft Special Economic Zones Bill, which aims to improve the concept of industrial development zones, is open for public comment, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said on Monday.

"The special economic zones (SEZ) programme is one of the most critical instruments that can be used to advance government's strategic objectives of industrialisation, regional development, and job creation," Davies told reporters in Pretoria.

The bill aimed to improve on the industrial development zones (IDZ) programme introduced in 2000. The programme led to the establishment of four zones - Coega outside Port Elizabeth, East London, Richard's Bay, and OR Tambo International Airport, which was not yet operational.

Stormwater issues in sectional title
A Property24 reader asks:
I live in a complex situated in the Pietermaritzburg area. In December I reported to the managing agents of the complex, a stormwater drain overflow as a result of heavy rains that we experienced in the area. 

Initially it was 'assumed' that there was a possible blockage in the stormwater drain and that this caused the overflow but needed to be confirmed. 

The investigation conducted by the plumber concluded  that there was no  blockage in the aforementioned  stormwater drain, but that the stormwater drain pipe was ‘narrow’ and could not accommodate a large volume of  water thus resulting in the problem. 

I was consequently slapped with a R300 bill on my levy account, which was said to have been charged as a call-out fee by the plumber. 

I have the following questions relating to this incident: 

Beware further advances on home loan
South African consumers are definitely “wising up” when it comes to the high interest rates charged on credit card balances and other debts, and many homeowners among them are taking advantage of the current low home loan interest rates to escape these.

Home loan lending totalled some R10bn monthly in 2011, says Rudi Botha, CEO of leading mortgage originator BetterBond, “and fully 25% of that - or R2,5bn a month - was for further advances on existing bonds – or what are called equity loans in the US.”

Such loans are basically a way for existing homeowners to access the value (equity) that they have built up in their home over time - either by deliberately paying down their home loan or waiting long enough for the value of the property to substantially exceed the original loan amount, he says.

Botha adds that by far the most common reason for doing this at the moment is to “consolidate debt” or rather, to replace the debts that carry higher interest rate charges with the further advance, on which the bank will charge a relatively low rate of interest.

10 easy ways to save for home deposit
Our spending habits represent behavioural patterns that have often become so engrained that we forget to question them. Saving for anything, especially bigger purchases like a car or your first home, requires daily and conscious discipline.

You need to have a ‘date with self’ and face the facts about your spending head-on. Do not let yourself be distracted. Decide what you want to save for – have an image of your new home in your mind and every time you feel tempted to stray, simply remind yourself of the bigger picture.

Giving up one habit is easier if you have a replacement in mind, so dream about that flat, loft apartment or house that you’ve seen – and before you know it, you could make it a reality.

Here are some easy everyday ways to save towards your home deposit and change your spending habits in preparation for applying for a home loan.

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