Property 24/10 - 19

SAPOA drags Jhb Council to court
South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA) is seeking to overthrow the City of Johannesburg's (COJ) 2010 budget with a High Court application due to objection to COJ's large rates increases.

These increases were included in the budget without consultation or due process.

SAPOA is of the opinion that these increases unfairly target commercial property owners.

Since SAPOA took the matter up on behalf of its members, the association - which represents the voice of the industry - has steadily escalated the issue, moving from an attempt to negotiate with the COJ, to full legal action. This finally elicited a response from COJ, which essentially acknowledges the problem and attributes this to a lack of skills and knowledge.

Coastal retire home: Use your head
A slower pace of life, sunset walks on the beach, daily rejuvenating dips in the ocean and temperate weather are just some of the reasons why so many people dream of retiring to the coast, and many are lucky enough to have the opportunity.

Carole Christie from Lew Geffen Sotheby's International Realty in Port Alfred says when taking the plunge to make the dream a reality, retirees should carefully weigh up their options to ensure that they make a sound investment.

"It's important to think with your head and not your heart when evaluating homes by the sea to retire to. All too often, people get caught up in the moment and don't pay enough attention to the soundness of the investment they're about to make.

Recovery still '12 to 18 months off'
The residential property market in South Africa is still coming to terms with the fallout from the economic crisis.

Auction Alliance CEO Rael Levitt on Monday said sales trading activity is increasing as home buyers take advantage of a slower recovery.

"South Africans are now seeing a repeat of the lengthy property downturn last experienced in the early 1990s. Opportunistic buyers are finding great deals which are boosting trading volume.
"What is unique about this property contraction is that low values are coinciding with low interest rates. It's thus bargain hunting season for those with access to funding," says Levitt.

Voetstoots: Protective tips for buyers
A very real nightmare for many prospective buyers is buying a house which is replete with hidden defects that need fixing later on.

Property24 spoke to some experts to find out what to look out for when buying and what preventative steps can be taken in order not to fall victim to the much-maligned "voetstoots" clause.

Laurie Wener, MD for Pam Golding Properties (PGP) in the Western Cape, says one should firstly be on the lookout for damp and mould and/or very fresh paint that may mask this. "Other serious snags include sagging roofs, signs of possible sinking foundations or floors when skirtings are not flush with the floors or deep cracks in walls or floors. Check the doors and windows for warping and ask questions through your agent or have the property inspected by an expert."

'Cape Town is coming of age'
The urban regeneration that has been talked about in recent years is gathering momentum as residential properties in Cape Town's CBD are being snapped up at top dollar, with some apartments being sold for more than R9m.

Mary Bailey, owner of Morning Star Properties, which specialises in inner city real estate, said the last five years, and particularly the last six months, have seen the area's popularity sky-rocket. Sales in the previously deserted area are "unprecedented", with apartment prices outstripping those of properties in surrounding neighbourhoods and fast approaching those of properties in the Atlantic Seaboard.

New commercial hub sprouting in PE
Once little more than a convenient road, William Moffet Drive in Port Elizabeth is undergoing a transformation towards becoming the city's hottest new commercial property node.

Arnie Katz, director for Broll Property Group and PE commercial property specialist, says although speculative industrial developments in the city have not been easy to fill, developments in William Moffet, Fairview and the Buffelsfontein areas have attracted interest, particularly with the release of restitution land, of which the first 100-metres adjacent to William Moffet Drive is reserved for commercial development.

"Large-scale development is expected to take place on the restitution land soon," says Katz.

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