Property 24/10 - 191

Sought-after Johannesburg office nodes
Office demand is tracking closer to Gautrain stations across Johannesburg’s prime northern nodes of Sandton, Rosebank and Bryanston as both new development and re-development projects seek to optimise access to both public and private transport options.

“Office development is continuing apace in Sandton, which is quickly consolidating its position not only as the financial heartland of Johannesburg but also the preferred location for corporate headquarters,” says Broll’s Gauteng divisional director of office broking, Fran Teagle.

The node continues to reap the benefits of the Gautrain, which provides connectivity to both OR Tambo International Airport as well as the greater Johannesburg area and Pretoria.

Office demand is focused on space within walking distance of the station.

Task team look into low-cost housing
Human Settlements Minister Connie September says she has formed a task team to look at ways in which her department can work with banks to deliver one million homes over the next five years.

Briefing journalists after a meeting with representatives from all South African banks in Sandton on Monday, September said she vested the task team with the responsibility to forge a formal partnership to speed up the delivery of houses in the country.

This comes as the department, which has provided low-cost housing to millions of South Africans in the past 20 years, recently moved to help the working class who fall within a “gap market” that cannot afford a housing bond from any bank.

September said there was a need to define the department’s relationship with all banks.

Are you buying property? Read this
Apart from interest rates and home prices, property buyers should consider area price trends, possible renovation costs, transfer costs and finance.

With many people who have been predicting interest rates to remain stable, you can imagine my surprise when they were hiked last week. Read the article here.

The Reserve Bank hiked interest rates by 50 basis points to 5.5 percent per annum from 5.0 percent. What this means of course is that banks will also increase their prime lending rates, not exactly good news for many would-be home buyers.

Some economists predict that this hike opens doors for more to come, but since it seems no-one has the crystal ball into what will happen with interest rates, when buying property, there are many things one should know.

Benefits of home security initiatives
It usually costs just a few hundred rand a month to help pay for measures to increase neighbourhood security, such as guarded booms, cameras or dedicated security patrols, and this is a small price to pay if you consider how such measures protect home values as well as lives and property.

This is according to Jan Davel, MD of the RealNet estate agency group, who says in the past year, prices in limited-access areas and those known to have active community security measures in place have risen by as much as 25 percent, compared with an average national house price increase of around 9 percent.

“Security is without doubt the number one concern for most current home buyers, and those who would prefer not to live in a sectional title complex or a gated estate are seemingly prepared to pay quite a premium to live in suburbs where a strong residents’ or ratepayers’ association has successfully instituted neighbourhood security measures,” he says.

Insurance in sectional title schemes
Insurance in sectional title schemes is sometimes discussed at length and debated as to whether the amounts insured are necessary and, sometimes, even whether insurance of the actual scheme is necessary.

This is according to Mandi Hanekom, operations manager for Propell, who says firstly, insurance is of vital importance and proper insurance of the scheme must be taken care of by the body corporate.

Section 37 of the Sectional Titles Act sets out the functions of the body corporate and part of this pertains to the insurance of the scheme: “(f) to insure the building or buildings and keep it or them insured to the replacement value thereof against fire and such other risks as may be prescribed; (g) to insure against such other risks as the owners may by special resolution determine; (h) subject to the provisions of section 48 and to the rights of the holder of any sectional mortgage bond, forthwith to apply any insurance money received by it in respect of damage to the building or buildings, in rebuilding and reinstating the building or buildings in so far as this may be effected; (i) to pay the premiums on any policy of insurance effected by it;”.

Home loans and insurance cover
One of the many points clarified by the consumer Information documents issued by the Ombudsman for Banking Services is the difference in the insurance that the banks are entitled to require of anyone taking out a home loan.

This is according to Mike van Alphen, National Manager of Rawson Finance, the Rawson Property Group’s bond origination division, who says the Ombudsman’s easily understood statements make it clear that two types of insurance are enforceable by law.

The first is homeowners cover (HOC). This is an insurance policy covering the home against damage caused by fire, floods or any other calamity or disaster. The homeowner is entitled to take out his own policy for this, but if he does so, the bank is allowed to charge an extra amount on its monthly service fees to monitor the payments. This extra sum may not, however, exceed the maximum set down by the National Credit Act and currently this stands at R50 per month.

What to ask when buying a home?
It’s the beginning of a new year and those lucky enough to receive an annual bonus and/or salary increase at the end of December 2013 would have been wise to have save some towards a home deposit or into their bond.

Everyone knows that there are few investments as valuable as owning property, but buying a home is no walk in the park and you have to take into account that you need comprehensive knowledge to ensure the process is smooth. An experienced estate agent can guide you but it is essential to select the right agent who is properly qualified and deal with a reputable agency.

All professional agents are subject to strict requirements including a NQF level 4 qualification followed by a professional exam and have to be registered with the Estate Agency Affairs Board who regulate and control the industry in the public's interest.

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