Property 24/10 - 215

Absa widens door to homeownership
For most people, buying a home is the largest and most exciting investment that they will ever make. It is an emotional experience as a home means security and is the heart of the family – a place to call home.

This is according to Carel Grönum, managing executive of Home Loans at Absa, who says they are putting the customer at the heart of everything that they do. “Absa is committed to ensuring that we widen the doors to homeownership whilst also educating prospective buyers.”

Absa has launched ‘MyHome’, which is a repositioning of the bank’s Affordable Housing segment. MyHome is a unique customer proposition that will open the doors of homeownership to people who earn less than R18 600 a month, giving more South Africans a chance to own a home.

More than 3 000 land claims lodged
Less than a month after government re-opened the land claims window, Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti says they have already received in excess of 3 000 claims.

The land claims window re-opened on 1 July 2014.

“It is common knowledge now that the Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Bill has been signed into law. We have already received in excess of 3 000 claims across the country,” the minister said, while delivering his Budget Vote in Parliament on Wednesday. The first period for lodgement was opened between 1994 and 1998. Although land claims were made and settled, a great number of people complained that they had not been aware of the process at the time and as such, they had missed the initial lodgement window.

RentReport tool for property investors
Another first in the industry, Tenant Profile Network (TPN) announced its innovative new RentReport tool at the launch last week, which is set to change the face of property investment in South Africa.

Property owners and investors can now access suburb-specific data to assist them in identifying what properties in which areas will deliver good and consistent returns. There are 22 700 suburbs in SA and TPN has data which is invaluable in pinpointing buy-to-let hotspots and tracking trends in various suburbs.

With 3.6 million households living in rental accommodation in SA, this represents 25% of the population, says Michelle Dickens, managing director of TPN, and this figure has grown from 18% in 2001 (Stats SA figures). In Gauteng alone there are 1.4 million households renting, which is 42% of the resident population.

GBCSA showcases African innovation
The Green Building Council of South Africa’s annual convention is set to showcase Africa’s potential to develop sustainable buildings as an answer to its infrastructure challenges as well as in response to Africa’s growing and complex cities.

The convention, to be held in Cape Town from 10 to 12 September has cast its central theme as ‘It’s time for Africa – bringing it home’. It will feature a variety of local and international leaders who will speak to the opportunities unique to the African context.

This is according to Brian Wilkinson, CEO of the GBCSA, who says Green building inspires innovation. “Building resource-efficient structures that are environmentally sustainable and cost-effective challenges project teams and developers to push the boundaries. In doing so they are setting new benchmarks for their peers and taking the green building movement to new levels.”

IEA rentals and inspections workshop
The Institute of Estate Agents, Western Cape, has reported that they received many requests from agents who would like to attend training on how to handle rentals.

This is according to Annette Evans, regional general manager of the Institute of Estate Agents, Western Cape, who says these agents are all encouraged to attend the Institute’s Residential Rental course, which is a comprehensive two day course and/or the one day Rental Inspection workshop to be run at their Training Centre in Pinelands. This will be presented by Vivien Marks, who has extensive experience in rentals and regularly collaborates with the Institute.

The rentals course will run on 6 and 7August, and the rental inspection course will be held on Friday 8 August and the cost is discounted for IEASA members. Attendees gain CPD points for personal development towards their compulsory Continued Professional Development (CPD) and each attendee will be given templates which give added value to their businesses.

Using access bonds to finance upgrades
With suburban house prices now rising at eight to nine percent per annum and with the large, sometimes overgenerous bonds of yesteryear now far harder to come by, there has been a return to the traditional concept that those who find it expensive to upgrade their properties should improve or extend their existing homes.

This is according Saneli Ngcobo, an attorney with Gunston Attorneys in Cape Town, who says quite often, these improvements become compulsory or inevitable because more children are born or the existing children become teenagers and need their own rooms.

She says alternatively, some of those living in the home may find that they need work space or provision now needs to be made for older, retired family members. She says there could be 101 reasons for an extension and an upgrade, but it is worth noting that those of us advising clients on handling their estates and their asset management almost always welcome the decision to do this because it is an accepted fact that the initial capital outlay on almost any improvement will add far more to the overall value of the home. Ngcobo says renovations and upgrades are, therefore, a good idea.

Why banks don't give short-term loans
South African banks do not often approve short-term property loans because the loan payback time of less than a year is not lucrative. In addition, when applying for a long- or short-term loan, a consumer’s risk profile is carefully scrutinised and many times consumers who are facing retirement are declined access to a loan, due to their age profile.

This is according to Gary Palmer, CEO of Paragon Lending Solutions, who says people over the age of 65 are considered undesirable candidates to grant loans to. He says in South Africa, the banks’ policy is that if the applicant is over the age of 65 then they can’t qualify for a loan, as banks fear that they are high risk applicants and will struggle to pay back the loan.

Palmer points to a common scenario that many South Africans find themselves in: people who try to sell their real estate while trying to find another property to buy may require a short-term loan to secure the new property. However, they will more than likely not be granted a short-term loan by the bank.

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