Property 24/10 - 122

Western Cape alternative & eco homes
The Western Cape has added welcome impetus to a growing trend by provincial governments to embrace alternative building technologies (ABTs).

These are cost-effective and sustainable solutions to housing local communities says Brent Harris, chief executive officer of Vela Building Solutions – Southern Africa’s leading innovator and supplier in this field.

His comment follows the Western Cape’s Department of Human Settlements invitation to contractors to submit tenders for the construction of some 2 000 ABT-built homes (in single and double-storey format) in Delft Symphony Precincts 3 and 5 in Cape Town.  The project will be financed by the Department of Human Settlements Provincial Housing Subsidy Scheme.

Harris explains that this is one of the largest, if not the largest, single ABT housing developments yet undertaken by the public sector in sub-Saharan Africa.  It is bigger, even, than the 1 600 homes that Vela’s Modular Building Solutions division is supplying to the Government of Angola for a community settlement in the south of that country.

No pay for sectional title trustees
According to Prescribed Management Rule 10 of the Sectional Title Schemes, trustees are not entitled to remuneration for their services, says expert.

Even though they may spend considerable time on carrying out necessary duties, they are still not entitled to remuneration, says Michael Bauer, general manager of the property management company, IHFM.

Bauer says an owner can be a trustee or an employee of the scheme, but cannot be both. 

If he is a trustee, he is usually given a certain portfolio and a special resolution is required if there is to be any remuneration. 

Special resolutions can be passed at the AGM and then it requires 30 days’ notice instead of the usual 14 day notice period before the meeting that this matter will be voted on.

Is a pool an investment for your home?
At this time of year, homeowners often think about putting in a pool in time for summer, and there are many good reasons to do so, but you shouldn’t count on it adding much value to your home.

“If you’ve been stuck in the traffic on a sweltering summer day, there’s nothing like a quick dip when you get home, says Berry Everitt, MD of the Chas Everitt International property group.

"Pools are also great as an integral part of a stylish outdoor entertainment area, swimming is one of the easiest ways to stay fit and of course your children and all their friends will love it."

However, you also need to be prepared for the fact that pools take a lot of maintaining, he cautions.

Baskets need to be emptied, the pool needs to be skimmed frequently with a net to remove debris (which immediately begins to collect again), water needs to be tested and various chemicals need to be bought and regularly applied to keep it clean, sparkling and algae free, he says.

Why banks reject your home loan
There are some common reasons why banks reject home loan applications that would-be buyers should be aware of before applying for finance. 

In an attempt to understand why a high proportion of mortgage bond applications are turned down, Rawson Property Group commissioned former Absa Bank Regional Manager, Mike van Alphen, to go through a large sample of Rawson Finance’s July bond applications. 

Van Alphen, now with Rawson Financial Services, reported back that the chief reasons for the ‘declines’ had been: 

Bad credit records
Van Alphen says this accounted for 32% of the rand value of the rejected files. What is more, he explains the banks are fairly consistent in their assessments: in more than 90% of the cases, at least three (sometimes more) of the banks took the same stance on the rejected applications, always giving the same reasons, i.e. unfavourable credit records. 

Homework tips for property buyers
The decision a property buyer makes today, could affect their financial wellbeing and lifestyle for the rest of their lives. 

Buying a home is usually a happy and exciting experience, but it is important that buyers don’t make their decision based purely on feelings alone, says Goslett.

In light of this, it is important that buyers don’t feel pressured into making a decision, but rather take the time to do the necessary homework to assist them in making the most informed decision they can, says Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.  Goslett says due to the fact that purchasing a home is a major investment, the decision making process should be given adequate time and effort before reaching its final conclusion. 

Buying a home is usually a happy and exciting experience, but it is important that buyers don’t make their decision based purely on feelings alone, he says. 

“Although a buyer must want to live in the home they purchase, they should consider other aspects that could affect them in the future.” 

Cape Town hot business hub - Bree Str
With the construction of Portside, Cape Town’s largest office development currently underway, Bree Street is fast becoming a major business hub.

As one of the main arteries into and out of the city, Bree Street is also becoming a retail, culinary and design centre, attracting many new cafes, boutiques and design-focused businesses.

Rob Kane, chairperson of the Central City Improvement District (CCID) explains that the scale and scope of the investments tell a story of a city, which is truly open for business.

Portside is a R1.6 billion investment while the development of Bowman Gilfillan offices on 22 Bree Street is another R360 million investment in the Cape Town central city.

With these major corporate construction developments, many of the area’s old buildings are being refurbished and we are seeing new food outlets opening in response to the uptick in development, he says.  

First-timers urged to buy homes now
Would-be first-time home buyers are urged to buy now as there couldn’t be a better time to enter the property market.

Rudi Botha, chief executive officer of BetterBond notes that the residential property market has reached a stage that occurs only very rarely, in which several major factors are all aligned in favour of first-time buyers. 

He says this is clearly evident in BetterBond’s latest statistics, which represent 25 percent of all residential mortgage bonds being registered in the Deeds Office and include applications to, and bond grants from, all the major lending banks in South Africa.

For a start, he explains that despite the fact that the average home purchase price among first-time buyers has climbed steadily in the past four months from R582 000 to R621 000, and is currently also 5 percent higher than at this time last year – home ownership has actually become more affordable, thanks to the easing of credit restrictions and of course, an interest rate cut.

Old buildings lag behind in rentals
Old buildings are lagging behind in rentals when compared to modern buildings with state-of-the-art access control security.

Org Geldenhuys, managing director of Abacus Divisions, says when it comes to rentals received, one of the trends emerging in the commercial property market is that older buildings across the board are typically lagging behind, by up to15 and 20 percent, of those for newer developments - or for office developments with state-of-the-art access control security.

Abacus Divisions is active in a number of key office parks in the Irene/Centurion area, including Route 21 Corporate Park and Highveld Technopark.

He says older buildings are not attracting the same rentals as new buildings and new office park developments – and this is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future.

Although tenants might arguably pick up bargains if they opt to rent older buildings, more discerning businesses are definitely tending towards newer buildings and are prepared to pay up to 20 percent more in many instances.

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