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New billing system 'in sight' for Durban property owners
IolProperty - South Africa
An end seems to finally be in sight for the eThekwini Municipality's much anticipated billing system - close to R600 million and more than a decade later. The Revenue Management System (RMS) was set to "go live" in July after many years of postponements, the IT consultancy company doing the work said yesterday. The consultancy, Liepzig Advisory IT, announced the date during the city's executive committee (exco) meeting yesterday.

The system has been beset with delays, with costs escalating since it was first proposed in 2004. The initial cost of the system, contracted to Ramco/Citi Works in March 2004, was budgeted at R90 million to R150m over four years. But costs have soared to more than R500m in 10 years. An IT expert at Liepzig, Leepy Shabangu, cautiously told exco yesterday that the system was expected to be implemented in July.

Tax benefits of Public Private Partnerships
Garlicke & Bousfield Inc - South Africa
It is becoming commonplace for government to enter into arrangements with a private party where the government provides land for the construction or improvements to buildings by the private party without parting with ownership of the land. This is referred to as a Public Private Partnership (PPP).

PPP transactions are dealt with in s12N of the Income Tax Act, 1962 (the Act), which treats the private party making the improvements to government land as if it was the owner of the land. If the private party complies with s12N, it can claim capital allowances for the improvements. In order to qualify the private party must:
Tax Benefits of Public Private Partnerships

House Price Indices
Absa - South Africa
Nominal middle-segment house price growth edging lower

Year-on-year growth in the average nominal value of middle-segment homes in the South African residential property market softened somewhat further in February 2015, whereas real price growth accelerated up to January on the back of declining inflation. These price trends are according to the Absa house price indices, which are based on applications for mortgage finance received and approved by the bank in respect of middle-segment small, medium-sized and large homes (see explanatory notes).

Nominal middle-segment house price growth came to 8,4% y/y in February, down from 8,9% in January and a recent high of 9,9% y/y in September last year. On a month-on-month basis, nominal price growth slowed down further to 0,3% in February from just below 0,9% in January last year.

The gradual declining trend in nominal house price growth since late last year is much in line with continued subdued real economic growth of 1,3% year-on-year (y/y) in the final quarter of the year. Full-year growth was 1,5% in 2014 (2,2% in 2013 and forecast at 2,2% in 2016). The somewhat higher interest rates and continued low level of consumer confidence could also have played a role in the lower house price growth in early 2015.
House Price Indices  Feb 2015

Keeping the lights on in Sectional Title schemes
Trafalgar - South Africa
With no relief from load shedding and rolling blackouts on the near horizon, an increasing number of Sectional Title (ST) schemes are making plans to install generators, solar panels and other equipment to keep the lights on.

Many are also having to look at additional tanks and booster pumps to secure a steady supply of water when council pumping stations are also affected by load shedding and the mains water supply dries up.

“However,” says Andrew Schaefer, MD of leading national property management company Trafalgar, “trustees must make sure they follow the correct procedures before purchasing such equipment for their schemes. And the first step is usually to explain to owners why considerations regarding noise, fumes and aesthetics mean that the best option for most sectional title schemes is a single large generator (or solar power plant) to serve the whole complex.”
Keeping the lights on

Housing demand just keeps on going
BetterBond - South Africa
The demand for residential property continues to hold up well despite the current slow rate of economic growth in SA, according to the latest statistics from BetterBond Home Loans, SA’s leading mortgage origination group. These show, says CEO Shaun Rademeyer, that the total number of home loan applications submitted to the banks by BetterBond was almost 3% up year-on-year at the end of February, indicating a similar increase in the number of offers to purchase being made by prospective homebuyers.

The BetterBond figures also reveal that the average home price paid in the year to end-February was R939 000, or 5,89% more than in the previous 12 months – but that the average approved bond size rose by only 5,69% over the same period and that the total value of formally granted bonds rose by only 3,2%, he says.

“And this is underlined by the fact that the average percentage of purchase price required as a deposit rose from 16,96% to 17,12%. In other words, the average buyer had to spend considerably more of his or her own money to acquire a home in the past year – and that makes the increase in demand even more significant.”
Housing demand

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