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Govt incentivises private sector to go green
Given the threat of both an energy and water crisis, President Jacob Zuma has encouraged the private sector to ‘go green’, with government now looking to increase the energy efficiency incentives on offer. But how green do you have to go to be considered officially green, and how will this be measured and rated?

Brian Wilkinson, CEO of the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA), says support for green initiatives was also stated in the Budget Speech, but he believes that businesses still find themselves in an uncertain position as to what it is they’re supposed to do.

Wilkinson says the possibility of incentives for greater efficiency will encourage more green building initiatives. However, there will need to be a clear measure of efficiencies for government to confidently and consistently award these incentives, he says.

Good return on CBD peripheral properties
For a property developer, one of the great benefits of overseas travel is that it reveals or clarifies the trends that are influencing the property markets, and these trends tend to be the same in all developed countries according to Bill Rawson, chairman of the Rawson Property Group, who says in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban, they have come to accept that any precinct on the edge of the CBD in which the majority of buildings are zoned for residential use and are served by some retail outlets, are now good places for investment. “But it is quite evident to me now that this applies to most other cities worldwide.”

Rawson says such CBD peripheral properties are traditionally still significantly lower priced than those in the CBD itself and in the established suburbs. Furthermore, they have buildings which are usually old and ripe for redevelopment, either by subdivision, expansion or demolition and replacement by multi-unit residential blocks.

Buy-to-let home buying remains flat
The 1st quarter FNB Estate Agent Survey indicates that estate agents expect buy-to-let home buying in South Africa to start growing a little more rapidly in 2015, but is this really the scenario that will unfold? While estate agents surveyed were confident of stronger buy-to-let activity, the survey says we should perhaps "not expect too much to change in the near term" given the disappointing "soft start" to the economy this year.

"This would suggest mediocre capital growth in the housing market in the near term, and while the rental market is a relatively 'comfortable' place for landlords to operate at present, there are few signs to suggest that it will 'shoot the lights out' in the immediate future," say John Loos, Household and Property Sector Strategist and Theo Swanepoel, Property Market Analyst, at FNB Home Loans.

Is residential property a good investment?
Is it a good idea to invest in residential property? Can it help you diversify your investment portfolio and grow your wealth? These are questions that many South Africans ask themselves.

Pam Golding Properties’ (PGP) Hyde Park joint area manager, Jonathan Davies, says these are questions well worth considering as there are rewarding investment opportunities available in the residential property market. He says the nature and diversity of residential property in South Africa can make it difficult for those who are not familiar with the market to come to grips with its dynamics.

He says this is one of the reasons that most residential acquisitions are made for the purposes of private residency or leisure. However, many astute investors have done well by including residential property in their portfolios, especially in the buy-to-let market, which offers both income and capital appreciation returns, he says.

Buying commercial property? 5 common mistakes
Buying commercial property is a long-term commitment and a major investment for any business, therefore, such a decision needs to align with the businesses’ growth objectives according to Attie Anderson, FNB Head of Business Lending, who says being in a position to buy commercial property is an exciting phase for a business, as this creates new possibilities.

In some cases, he says commercial property buyers make impulsive decisions based on emotions rather than sound business objectives.

“During the decision-making process, it is important to remain focused on business needs and not overlook the finer details which could have long-term limitations on business growth.” Anderson states that paying attention to some of the following areas could help commercial property buyers avoid costly mistakes:

Perks of payroll home loan deductions
Making use of a payroll deduction to service a home loan has direct benefits to the home buyer, including a better risk profile with the bank, less chance of defaulting, as well as additional advantages such as possible savings on banking fees and a better credit rating with the bureaus according to Lee Mhlongo, CEO of FNB Housing Finance, who says there are many benefits for arranging a payroll deduction to service a home loan. “Approximately 30% of our affordable housing book comes from payroll deductions and we would encourage customers to go down this route, if their company offers this as a solution.”

A payroll deduction means that a customer’s home loan will come from their salary and the instalment or premium due will be paid directly by the employer to the service provider on behalf of their employee. The balance of the salary is then paid over to the employee.

4 home selling myths you should know
The procedure of buying or selling property can be a complicated process for many novice buyers and sellers, even with all the advice given from well-intentioned family and friends. Receiving advice and information from so many different sources can lead to uncertainty about certain key aspects of the sales transaction according to Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, who says with the large amount of information available to consumers these days, it may be difficult to determine what information to take note of and what to ignore. As a result, several home-selling myths have become commonplace in today’s property market.

Goslett shares a few facts to expose the myths and steer sellers in the right direction:

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