Property 24/10 - 14

Residential building multi-unit rating tool
The Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) has started the process of developing the third Green Star SA rating tool for Multi-Unit Residential (MUR) buildings, and is looking for sponsors for this addition to the Green Star SA toolkit.

Due for release in May of 2011, the MUR rating tool, the first such tool in the South African residential property market, will be created to assess the design of new and refurbished multi-unit residential buildings, completed multi-unit residential buildings and significant extensions to existing multi-unit residential buildings.

"The ongoing strategic expansion of available rating tools by the GBCSA is being driven by the demand for increased coverage of the property sector and the acknowledgement of unique environmental issues attributed to specific building types," explains Nicola Douglas, CEO of the GBCSA.

High net worth investors being wooed
The JSE PE ratio rerated by 82% last year, which certainly supports the view that the easy money in equities has been made.

What options does this leave the SA investor with? Two recently published surveys, by Deutsche Bank in SA and ACSIS, have confirmed that listed commercial property has outperformed listed equities over the last 3, 5 and 10 year periods with the survey by ACSIS showing 10 year average property returns at 23.9%, followed by equities at 20.85% and bonds at 15.4%. Clearly, timing is important in these returns. Equities, which is a lead indicator, has had its run.

Property sales volumes still falling
While latest housing data from major banks show that house prices are finally starting to rise in double-digits again (FNB and Absa), the picture looks decidedly less rosy when looking at recent sales volume figures.

In fact, the number of housing transactions (both sectional and full title sales) fell by a further 17% in the year to end-March 2010, according to figures from Knowledge Factory's SA Property Transfer Guide (SAPTG). That follows a drop of more than 35% in the number of residential property transfers in the previous year from 1 April 2008 to 31 March 2009. These figures include all sales recorded in the Deeds office priced between R200 000 and R5 million.
The sharp fall in sales volumes over the past two years has, of course, been accompanied by an equally noticeable drop in the value of housing sales. SAPTG figures show that the latter is down 45% over the past two years. At the peak of the housing boom, total annual sales to the value of R165 billion were recorded in the Deeds office (12 months to end-March 2008). In contrast, only R90 billion worth of residential property sales were concluded in the 12 months to end-March 2010.

Have a soccer party at home
The Soccer World Cup is finally here, and millions in South Africa and abroad will be anticipating with bated breath to see what the outcome is going to be and which team will ultimately walk off triumphant with the much acclaimed golden trophy.
Many of us will be watching the matches on our televisions at home. Although there is no doubt that this won't really compare in atmosphere and hype to watching the event live at one of the stadiums or fan parks across the country, here are some fun tips on how to liven things up and make these gatherings something to remember:

Exposed brick walls give modern feel
Exposing old brickwork has been a popular interior design trend for quite some time. It originated in the late 1900s, and has grown in popularity ever since.

During the '70s and '80s, its industrial look was often used in loft-style interiors and über contemporary décor. Later, during the 90's through to today, the modern feel of raw brickwork has been softened somewhat by it being complemented with various organic undertones and materials.

However, while exposed brickwork can make a powerful architectural statement, it does come with its fair share of cons as well. Since the surface is far from being smooth, it tends to collect dust. Also, since the surface is relatively porous and difficult to clean, it can become a host for bacteria and allergens - this is definitely not the finish to choose if you do suffer from allergies.

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