Property 24/10 - 189

Home price growth in the metro areas
According to Francois Venter, director at Jawitz Properties, the metropolitan areas are likely to see real property price growth compared to rural and coastal areas.

Well priced properties in the metro areas will sell fairly quickly, whereas in rural and coastal areas the time it takes to sell a property is much longer.

“The weak Rand will continue to put pressure on inflation which will in turn impact on prices across the board and particularly on food and petrol, making affordability an issue for some,” he says.

However, he says interest rates were at an all-time low last year, which sparked buyer demand, and this is likely to continue in 2014.

Banks are also easing on lending which opens the market to more buyers, but he says, we can expect low demand for property although there will be a good supply of properties in rural and coastal areas, and pent-up demand yet a low supply in metropolitan areas.

More Blacks buying in suburban areas
The FNB Home Buying by Race Group report by FNB reveals that racial transformation of the highly-traded former “suburban” areas continued through 2013, reflective of steady labour market racial transformation.

According to John Loos, FNB household and property sector strategist, racial transformation of all areas of the economy has been high on the policy agenda over the past two decades.

The 2013 report shows 48.5 percent of White buyers, 31 percent of Blacks, 12 percent of Indian/Asian and only 8.5 percent of Coloured buyers bought into the suburban areas.

The White group has seen a decrease from 50.8 percent in 2012 and high of 57 percent in 2005 representing a significant cumulative shift, explains Loos.

Shocking fraudulent property transfers
In one of the most audacious cases of identity fraud committed in South Africa to date, fraudsters with an intricate knowledge of the property system have stolen millions from a bank and sold an upmarket home without the knowledge of the owners.

“This case should set alarm bells ringing for anyone who owns a residential property of high value that has been on the market for a while,” says Penny Chenery, a director at Hogan Lovells SA formerly known as Routledge Modise, who is acting for the couple whose Sandhurst property was “stolen” by the fraudsters.

She says a “terrifying” aspect of the case is that the transaction seems legitimate in every respect.

“All the paperwork was handled correctly and passed through every check, including those at the bank’s loan department and the Deeds Office.”

In fact, a valuation was conducted and submitted to the bank and this, together with faked loan application documentation, was convincing enough for the bank’s attorneys to pay R11.8 million loan into a trust account provided by the supposed conveyancing attorney.

SA commercial property a safe haven
Quality commercial and industrial properties in South Africa will continue to boast yields comparative to most other investment classes in the near future, despite the market remaining as flat as it has over the past five years.

This is according to Gerrie van Biljon, executive director at Business Partners Limited, who says the company, which oversees a property portfolio of nearly R1 billion, is optimistic about the property market as an investment haven in 2014, despite the possible risks to the sector.

Van Biljon believes that the South African property market is less exposed to shocks in the global economy as, for example, the stock markets.

“Any of the imminent setbacks to the global economy, such as the raising of the close to 0 percent interest rates of the developed world, or the tapering off of America’s policy of quantitative easing will reflect immediately in the Johannesburg Stock Exchange indices, but not necessarily in property values.”

Rentals course for estate agents
More real estate agencies are now adding rentals to the services they offer, and it is important for letting agents to be completely au fait with the Rental Housing Act and the legal interpretation of it, as well as the practical day to day aspects of rental management.

Agents who do not have the necessary experience in this field and are interested in increasing their knowledge, says Annette Evans, regional manager of the Institute of Estate Agents, Western Cape, are encouraged to attend the courses or seminars offered in Cape Town and the Garden Route.

Of the courses lined up to help estate agents get the necessary training to specialise in their chosen property transaction field, the Institute has arranged for a comprehensive two-day residential rentals course to be run at their Training Centre in Pinelands. This will be presented by Vivien Marks, who sits on the Rental Housing Tribunal and has extensive experience in rentals.

Solar geyser or heat pump pros & cons
For property owners there are many decisions to be made regarding your property. One such decision is whether or not to use a solar geyser or a heat pump as your property’s water heating system.

The first step in deciding which of these are suitable for you is to analyse the amount of water the system will need to provide, the space and budget available for the system and the architectural guidelines of the property or estate.

One other factor to be considered is the area in which the property warranting the installation is located. For example, if you have a holiday home with high humidity and excellent water quality, a heat pump is the suitable choice.

With South Africa’s mostly year round sunny climate, the option of a solar geyser can provide sufficient hot water, regardless of weather conditions and water quality.

Managing agents and debt collection
Managing agents, trustees and directors of community schemes may be falling foul of the Debt Collectors Act.

This is according to Marina Constas, director of BBM Attorneys and co-authorofthebook,"DemistifyingSectionalTitle", who says if a managing agent is collecting debt on behalf of a body corporate or other community scheme for reward, then they are required to register as a debt collector with the Council of Debt Collectors.

She says if the managing agent is a legal entity such as a company or close corporation, that entity must register, as well as every director or member thereof and every officer of the entity.

Why show days give sellers the edge
Despite today’s technology which allows sellers to list their properties online and buyers to view them, there is still great value in going back to basics and having a show day.

This is according to Francois Venter, Director of Jawitz Properties, who says when you put your property on the market, having a show day could mean attracting the right buyer, whereas if you don’t, you could miss out on giving the right buyer a chance to see your property.

Sellers are not showing their properties as often these days, citing security concerns. “Jawitz Properties’ show days are protected by ADT where we have a panic button ready for both the protection of the agent/s sitting at the show day as well as for the safety of the seller’s property. We also urge sellers to lock their valuables away, such as jewellery and laptops.

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