Property 24/10 - 148

Unpaid levies and restricting access
There are sometimes cases where levies aren’t paid on time or are not paid at all, and the body corporate, possibly out of desperation because they have tried just about everything else, restricts the owner’s access, either by deactivating his access disk for the gate or parking garage or preventing him from parking inside the perimeter of the complex.

This is according to Michael Bauer, general manager of property management company IHFM, who says this happened recently and ended in a court case. The owner, Fischer, took the body corporate of Misty Bay to court in Gauteng after it deactivated Fischer’s access disk to the premises.  

They argued that they were not preventing him from gaining access, just restricting it due to his levies being in arrears. Furthermore, they said that the conduct rules of their scheme allegedly allowed them to do this in such an instance.

Do you know your consumer rights?
In celebration of World Consumer Rights Day on 15 March, the National Debt Mediation Association (NDMA) urged consumers to be aware of their rights when it comes to credit. “In South Africa we have progressive legislation in the form of the National Credit Act (NCA) which protects credit consumers, but consumers are often not aware that they can demand certain basic rights when it comes to credit,” says chief executive officer of the NDMA, Magauta Mphahlele. 

The theme for World Consumer Day is “Consumer Justice Now!

Mphahlele says this is a universal theme that is particularly relevant to South Africa.

She further says that “Justice is only possible where consumers are well informed and there are effective institutions and mechanisms through which consumers can access redress”.

Property will remain a good investment
Even with its ups and downs over the years, real estate is still the best investment people can make and the only opportunity people have to generate any real net worth for themselves.Brian Buffini, Founder & CEO of Buffini & Company says this is why real estate will always be a good investment, despite changing market conditions. Buffini was the keynote speaker at the RE/MAX of Southern Africa Stars Convention held at Sun City during February.

As the largest real estate training and coaching company in the US, and a respected authority on creating a successful real estate career, Buffini and his team have developed a system to help service industry professionals, such as real estate agents, consistently generate leads and grow their business.

IEASA signs memorandum with REBOSA
South Africa’s stressed real estate industry has entered a new era with the signing of a memorandum of understanding by its two biggest self-governing bodies.This is according to Jeanne Van Jaarsveld, general manager of Harcourts SA and vice president of the Institute of Estate Agents of South Africa (IEASA), who regards the partnership between the long-established Institute and newly formed Real Estate Business Owners of South Africa (REBOSA) as a major step towards professionalising the sector.

He says collectively, the IEASA and REBOSA represent an overwhelming portion of the real estate industry and together, they intend to change the country’s property landscape in the interests of the public, business owners and estate agents.

Van Jaarsveld believes the partnership is a positive step following the transfer of the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) from the Department of Trade and Industry to the Department of Human Settlements under Minister Tokyo Sexwale. He says the EAAB is the government-appointed industry regulator so it’s critical that its governance is sound. "The transfer of the EAAB and the real estate industry to Minister Sexwale’s department was a strategic move by Government and one that has proved to be extremely successful.”

Using your home loan to manage debt
Home loans can be useful tools for managing debt and are generally priced more competitively than short-term debt options - but how many of us really know how to use this facility effectively? It is important for consumers to understand how to optimise their debt structures in order to create financial wellbeing, says Ewald Kellerman, head of sales at FNB Home Loans. Decisions on how a home loan is managed from the decision to move, upgrade or downgrade your home, to the structure of monthly repayments and deposits, could significantly affect the amount of interest charged and the overall benefit you will derive from this credit class, he explains.

Most of us probably know it's a 'good idea' to pay more into our home loans each month and by doing so we will save on interest. But how many really practice this? Let's face it, we live in a consumer driven world where we are constantly bombarded by images and messages of what we could or should have in our lives. It's easy to feel that you 'need' a new car or deserve an overseas trip because others around you seem to be indulging, and while you don't have the cash now, you believe you can 'cut back' later and 'so what' if you pay some extra interest. We're human after all, and at some stage most of us except those truly disciplined individuals, will spend on something that we know we shouldn't buy with money we don't have.

3 listed property stocks to buy
With distribution growth expected to accelerate towards 8 percent in 2013 and 2014, South Africa’s listed property sector looks poised for another year of inflation-beating returns, although not the 36 percent plus return investors enjoyed last year, explains Ian Anderson, chief investment officer at Grindrod Asset Management.  Anderson says the  introduction of REIT legislation in April will lead to increased interest from foreign investors, while the Reserve Bank is likely to keep official interest rates at historically low levels while economic growth is sluggish.

“This should lend support to current valuations, and the combination of a 6.5 percent initial yield and 8 percent distribution growth should translate into total returns in excess of 10 percent this year,” he says.

Anderson points out that listed property’s high initial yield and inflation-beating income growth prospects make it an ideal long-term investment.

Positive house price growth continues
Bond originator ooba recorded a 4.6% growth in the average house price from R868 174 in February 2012 to R908 658 in February 2013.  Ooba continues to report record results building on the highs set in the last quarter of 2012. The value of home loans approved through ooba in February 2013 was up 23% on February 2012. The value of home loans approved recorded in the first seven months of ooba’s current financial year beginning 1 August, was 37% up on the same period last year. 

First-time home buyer activity continues to drive the market, with nearly 52% of ooba’s applicants in February being first-time home buyers. The average house price for first-time buyers was up 5.4% year on year to R698 721 and up 1.8% month on month from R686 452 in January. 

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