Property 24/10 - 224

Public Works on the road to recovery
The Department of Public Works says it has reached important milestones in its annual performance targets in the first quarter of the 2014/15 financial year. Delivering its quarter 1 performance report to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Works, the department said it has so far attained 60% of its 81 listed targets.

The department listed the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) as one of its notable achievements. EPWP created over 420 000 work opportunities from a planned target of 262 000 work opportunities. Seventy-six percent of these job opportunities (about 318 089) were in rural municipalities, where the programme is intended to have maximum impact.

Similarly, about 22 514 properties - against a target of 14 214 - in the Departmental Immoveable Asset Register were populated with the relevant information fields, which make them compliant with the acceptable accounting systems. This significantly reduces the likelihood of adverse audit findings.

Tourism spin-offs for property market
Over the past 20 years, the tourism sector’s contribution to South Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) has increased significantly, with an average annual average real growth rate of 7.3 percent according to Stats SA, creating jobs and generating valuable foreign currency.

According to the Department of Tourism, in 2013 tourism contributed 9.7 percent to the country’s GDP and accounted for in excess of 1.4 million jobs, while in 2012 tourism generated R93 billion, making an 11 percent contribution to GDP and 10.3 percent contribution to total employment in South Africa.

Encouragingly, in December 2013, according to Stats SA a total of 937 792 tourists visited South Africa - a record high, reflecting an increase of 7.6 percent over December 2012. During the entire 2013, 9.6 million tourists were recorded in the country, which is 428 596 more than the previous year, according to the Department of Tourism.

New green rating tool for SA homes
A new green building certification programme has been brought to South Africa thanks to the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) and its partnership with World Bank Group member, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and local rollout partners, the National Home Builder Registration Council (NHBRC).

The GBCSA announced the launch of the ‘EDGE’ rating system, to be utilised for homes in South Africa. The launch comes in the wake of the GBCSA’s hugely successful My Green Home education and awareness campaign for the greening of homes, in addition to a detailed market research study jointly led by IFC and the GBCSA on the potential need and impact of EDGE in the South African market.

The announcement caps the conclusion of the GBCSA’s 7th Annual Convention at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

SA quantity surveying recognised
The South African Council for the Quantity Surveying Profession (SACQSP) and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) in London have committed to solidifying their relationship by signing a “Mutual Recognition of Professional Competence”.

The two organisations met to discuss their ongoing relationship this month during a visit to South Africa by Louise Brooke-Smith, global president of RICS.

“Both bodies play an important role in the built environment and share a common goal in setting and regulating professional standards in quantity surveying for the advancement of the profession.

“Developing this partnership will not only facilitate future co-operation, it will also broaden opportunities for members of SACQSP and RICS internationally,” says Brooke-Smith.

Can you really afford that credit?
You know spring is upon us when queues at your local gym become longer as people get into the swing of things in pursuit of great bodies which will fit into the latest spring trends. Not only will the gyms be milling, but clothing stores have been booming with big winter sales on the one hand and new account applications from customers desperately wanting to buy the bright new spring colours ushering in the warm weather.

Credit Ombud, Manie van Schalkwyk, says with this year’s double increase in interest rates, an increase in inflation and several fuel hikes, as well as the ripple effect of escalating food prices, many consumers’ pockets are stretched to the limit. He says the reality is that consumers’ needs and desires will not diminish because of this. He says many will not be deterred from satisfying their urge to spend and they will simply incur more debt and still sign up for those gym or cell phone contracts.

He says this behaviour may lead to problems for many consumers. He warns that affordability will increasingly become an issue for most consumers if they have no regard for our financial state as a country or the imminent law changes relating to the manner in which affordability assessments are conducted.

Tips for appointing a managing agent
A recent investigation by the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) into the misappropriation of body corporate funds has highlighted, once more, the need for trustees to ensure that the managing agent they appoint to administer the affairs of the body corporate or homeowners' association they represent, has ticked all the boxes in terms of the EAAB’s fiscal, administrative and legal requirements.

This is according to Martin Bester, the Managing Director of Intersect Sectional Title Services, who says every managing agent dealing with trust funds on behalf of its clients is an estate agent by definition.

“This means that the managing agency is subject to the same terms and conditions as an estate agency as laid down by the EAAB and is therefore, required to maintain a valid fidelity fund certificate at all times. Moreover, the head of company and each of the property managers must have satisfied the EAAB’s requirements in terms of the qualifications and professional designation exams so as to hold and maintain their individual fidelity fund certificates.”

Choosing the right agent for the job
A knowledgeable, fully-qualified real estate professional from a reputable agency can be an invaluable asset for homeowners wanting to sell their property at the best possible price within the shortest time frame

This is according to Hendrik Havenga, Broker/Owner of RE/MAX Blue Chip Realty, whose office services the Pretoria Moot and Akasia areas.

He says with so many agents to choose from, it may be difficult for sellers to know whether they have selected the right agent. “While legislation changes within the industry have ensured that real estate agents are required to have a qualification before they are able to trade in the market, it is still important to select an agent who will be best suited to the seller’s requirements.

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