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FNB Household Consumer debt-service Risk Index - December 2011
FNB - South Africa
Through further reduction in its debt-to-disposable income ratio in the 3rd quarter, our Household Sector Debt-Service Risk Index has improved (declined) further, implying that very slowly the household sector is now reducing its vulnerability to any unwanted shocks, which can either be in the form of rising inflation and/or interest rates, or through weaker economic growth which in turn can exert pressure on disposable income growth.

However, the progress in reducing the debt-todisposable income ratio looks set to continue to be slow going due to increasing pressure on disposable income growth, as the economy looks set to see its growth slow.
This, at least, is if the SARB Leading Indicator is anything to go by as an indicator of near term economic performance. This indicator has seen decline month-on-month in the most recent 3 months’ data points, with a weakening global situation playing a key role.
A weak economy as we enter 2012 is also likely to keep the pace of savings low, although it would appear that households are intent on increasing their rate of saving of late.
Finally, a stagnant economic situation could make asset price growth slow going, as it has in 2011.

Billions spent on Cape foreshore properties
Iol Property - South Africa
One of the most underdeveloped parts of the CBD is to undergo a multibillion-rand transformation as developers try to turn the once drab precinct into another jewel in the Mother City's crown. 

While a number of modern buildings have gone up on the Foreshore - the new financial district - the wider Culemborg precinct, bordering the N2 flyover, Artscape and the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC), has had little development.

Now a number of revamps, new buildings and remodelling is in the pipeline, including an ambitious plan to redevelop the much-debated Culemborg site into a mixed-use area.

Developers say the time to expand is now.

They say the economy may be shaky but they are confident it will right itself and the worst will be over within two years.

So they are preparing for the upswing - buying, revamping and building.

Re-zoning delays killing businesses
Moneyweb - South Africa
JOHANNESBURG - Johannesburg’s processing of re-zoning applications is taking twice as long as it should, severely hampering the small businesses sector.

According to a wide range of experts and professionals interviewed by Moneyweb, the processing of applications to re-zone residential land for commercial use has become excessively slow and is getting progressively worse.

“Even if it’s a straight forward rezoning application, if it’s in line with the municipal policy, namely the regional spacial development framework (RSDF) … and there are no objections  … you would be lucky to get it through in 12 months,” says George Van Schoor, a professional town planner at C-Plan consultants.

Straight forward applications should take around six months according to Van Schoor. This is echoed by Jean-Luc Limacher, the CEO of SA’s biggest town planning consultancy Urban Dynamics.

FNB Property Barometer - Commercial Property Prospects 2012
FNB - South Africa
Examining global leading business cycle indicators, along with broadly weakening industrial production, 2012 looks set to be a weaker economic growth year than 2011. Already, in recent months, we have seen our FNB  esidential House Price Index growth rate slowing once more, which we believe to be a reasonably good leading indicator of commercial property capital growth trends. In addition, the 3rd quarter saw a noticeable rise in the FNB All Commercial Vacancy Rate Index as real economic growth had begun to slow, while the IPD data had also begun to show rising commercial vacancies in the 1st half of 2011.

While the FNB capitalisation rate index has only risen very slightly as at the 3rd quarter of 2011, after a previously declining trend, rising vacancies along with long bond yields being off their 2011 best levels of a few months ago, leads us to anticipate an increase in capitalisation rates in 2012, which in turn would exert downward pressure on real commercial property values.
During this period, if one could generalise, it would appear that prime properties and areas look set to hold up better than the “less illustrious”. Already, the IPD has reported a significantly more rapid rise in office vacancies of Central Business Districts (18.1% in H1 of 2011) compared to de-centralised nodes (10.4%). Similarly, in the case of retail, it has been the smaller community (8.1%) and neighbourhood (10.2%) shopping centres that have seen more noticeable rises in vacancy rates, while regional (3.2%) and super-regional (2.4%) shopping centres remained at far lower vacancy rates in the 1st half of this year.

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