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Banks approve more bonds to better-prepared borrowers
BetterLife - South Africa
Only 29% of the home loan applications submitted to lenders are currently being declined outright, compared to 32% a year ago and 38% at this time in 2013, which is a good indicator of the improved financial position of many SA households. However, says Shaun Rademeyer, CEO of BetterLife Home Loans, SA’s leading mortgage origination group, it does not mean that the banks have relaxed their credit qualification criteria.

“It is still advantageous to apply through a reputable mortgage originator like BetterLife that will prepare your application properly, motivate it individually and ensure you get the best interest rate possible.

“Indeed, the latest BetterLife statistics show that the group has in the past 12 months been able to “rescue” more than 25 000 applications - worth a total of about R18,4bn – that were initially turned down. This is a very significant number considering that the total value of the loan approvals it has secured in this period is some R37,5bn.”
Banks approve

Hijacked buildings a threat to Joburg CBD
IolProperty - South Africa
The City of Joburg's inner city could return to the decline it experienced in the 1980s after a year of trying to revive it.

Desperate property owners and investors in the CBD are threatening to pull out - and to warn prospective investors not to put their money into the area because building hijackings are on the increase. This is the message the Property Owners and Managers Association (Poma) is sending following a new spate of building hijackings. The owners claim they are getting little or no assistance from Joburg metro officials or the police when their buildings are hijacked.

Said Poma chairman Renney Plit: "We, as property owners of numerous inner-city buildings which we have refurbished, are deeply concerned about the hijacking of buildings, which affects us not only as owners who could be targeted, but also because hijacked buildings impact on our buildings in that they become havens for criminals.

Are three bedroom apartments worth it?
Lightstone - South Africa
Lightstone, a provider of comprehensive data, analytics and systems on property and business assets looks at whether three bedroom apartments are worth it.

Property and real estate moguls currently make up the third largest group of self-made billionaires on the Forbes 400 list. It’s not surprising that the majority of them made their fortune in countries with densely populated cities such as those found in South-East Asia, the United States and Europe. Since a higher concentration of people living in an area increases the demand and value of land, these entrepreneurs realised that the future of property expansion was skywards.

In South Africa, luxury is still associated with large yards and proportionally large property sizes but with the increase in population densities in metro areas, residential apartments might become a more feasible living option. In Sandton, for example, the average freehold property is valued at approximately 150% more than a sectional title property.

House price indices - March 2015
Absa - South Africa
House price growth extends slowing trend

The first quarter of 2015 saw year-on-year growth in the average nominal value of middle-segment homes in the South African residential property market being on a steady downward trend. The slowing trend in house price growth was already evident in the fourth quarter of last year. Real price growth also softened up to February this year on the back of declining nominal price growth, despite inflation trending lower in the first two months of the year. These 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 was recorded at 6,2% year-on-year (y/y) in March, down from 7,3% y/y in February after reaching a level of 10% y/y in the months of August to October last year. On a month-on-month basis, house price growth remained on a downward trend, with prices deflating by almost 0,2% in nominal terms in March, which was the first monthly price deflation since early 2012.

The downward trend in nominal house price growth since late last year came on the back of a subdued economic performance, continued low consumer confidence, interest rate hikes during the course last year and the prospect of further rate hikes up to late 2016.
HPI Mar 2015

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