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How to ensure a value for money purchase
Remax - South Africa
In order to truly determine whether a property is a good value-for-money purchase, a buyer will need to know the elements that contribute to a property’s worth. In today’s real estate market there is much more to a home’s worth than simply the price the buyer paid for it. There are certain aspects that a homebuyer should consider, such as the property’s location and the micro market surrounding the particular sale transaction. Researching these elements will assist a homebuyer in choosing the right property and seeing a good return on their investment over long term, says Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.

He notes that if a homebuyer researches the market and has a good understanding of the various details that are involved in a property sale, along with knowing their own personal and financial requirements with regards to the purchase; they will have a far better chance of finding a home that offers good value for money.

Residential building statistics
Absa - South Africa
Planning phase of residential building activity showed strong growth in the first quarter, whereas construction phase lagged
The first quarter of 2014 saw the planning phase of residential building activity in the South African market for new housing showing relatively strong growth on a year-on-year basis. The construction phase of new housing, traditionally lagging the planning phase, continued to contract in the first quarter compared with a year ago. These trends in private sector-financed residential building activity are based on data released by Statistics South Africa.

The number of new housing units for which building plans were approved by local government institutions increased by 2 204 units, or 18,6% year-on-year (y/y) to 14 036 units in the first three months of the year after year-on-year contractions in the third and fourth quarters of last year. On a month-on-month basis the number of plans passed was up by 695 units, or 14,6%, to 4 983 units. At a regional level the volume of plans approved with regard to new housing was largely driven by Gauteng (44,6% of the national total and growing by 20,5% y/y) and the Western Cape (23,6% of the total and growing by 60,4% y/y), while the Eastern Cape and the Northern Cape also recorded strong year-on-year growth in the number of plans approved, but from a relatively small base.
Building stats Mar 2014

Residential Property Barometer - May 2014
FNB - South Africa
House Price Index shows still-respectable growth. But can this hold in recessionary conditions?
The solid performance of the housing market in recent times appears to go somewhat against economic fundamentals which are currently very weak.

According to the FNB House Price Index, the average house price for May 2014 rose 8.1% year-on-year. This is slightly higher than a revised 7.9% for April.

Real house price growth (i.e. when house prices are adjusted for consumer price inflation), came in at 1.73% year-on-year in April (May CPI not yet available). This represents a slight slowing from a revised 1.9% real price growth in March, due in part to the pace of CPI inflation having quickened slightly further in April, from 6% in March to 6.1%.

Realism is returning to sellers' attitudes
Rawson - South Africa
The more realistic attitude to home pricing that estate agents have for some time now been advising their clients to adopt is at last far more evident among sellers, says Bill Rawson, Chairman of the Rawson Property Group.

“At one of our recent agents’ training sessions it was said that approximately 35% of sellers have to be counselled to drop their prices to achieve a sale in a reasonable amount of time and at least 15% still refuse to do so. This, however, is an improvement on the position of 12 to 18 months ago when, it seems, nearly 50% of sellers initially tried to over-price,” said Rawson.

Repeating a warning that almost every spokesperson for a major estate agency has made at some stage, Rawson said that it is not wise to “test the water” by over-pricing.

“Today’s buyers are better informed than ever before,” he said. “They know how to look up data on the internet and they have been taught by the recession, from which we are now only beginning to emerge, to be cautious and not over-optimistic about price rises. They will, therefore, make very competitive bids and will not be cajoled into signing a sales deal until they know they are getting real value.

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