Property 24/10 - 280

Johannesburg primed for new developments in 2016
When it comes to launching new residential developments, the past 12 to 18 months have been the busiest according to Chris Renecle, MD of Renprop, who says during this time they successfully brought around 11 new sectional title developments equating close on 1 700 units to market in the northern Johannesburg suburbs.

He says the recent developments launched were tailored in response to the level of investor demand that the market has shown, guaranteeing success.

Added to this, Renecle says many investors have benefited from marked capital growth during the launch-to-completion cycle of many of these developments, which has added to the investment appeal of off-plan residential apartments this year.

Buying property in a trust: is it for you?
There is always a debate as to which vehicle is best for purchasing property. There are indeed pros and cons to every situation, and individual circumstances will also impact upon the ultimate decision made according to Carol Reynolds, Pam Golding Properties' area principal for Durban Coastal.

“On the whole, we encourage buyers of residential property to purchase their primary residences in their personal capacities, as this way they will enjoy the R2 million capital gains tax exemption when they come to sell,” she says.

Residential property still a good investment in 2016
During 2008/2009 when the worldwide recession impacted property markets across the globe, both the residential and commercial property markets in South Africa experienced a decline at the same time according to Chris Renecle, MD of Renprop, who says this was unusual to see, as usually the residential and commercial markets are counter-cyclical.

“The interesting fact is that even though South Africa was not as affected as the rest of the world by the property market crash, we have not seen the same level of recovery in our markets as Europe and the US has,” he says.

“We are now expecting to see a return to ‘normal’ in terms of the counter cyclicality of the residential and office space markets. The residential property market is expected to remain relatively robust, while we anticipate the office market will continue to experience lacklustre trading conditions in the year ahead.”

Shortage of well-priced property hindering buyers
Difficulty in obtaining finance is no longer the biggest obstacle to an increased volume of home sales according Richard Gray, CEO of Harcourts Real Estate, who says this can be concluded from a nationwide survey just completed by the group, which has more than 140 outlets spread across the country and in all major centres.

“Even though some areas still have a stock surplus as a result of the 2008/09 financial crisis, this poll revealed that the majority of our business owners believe that the biggest challenge currently facing agents, and home buyers, is undoubtedly a shortage of well-priced homes for sale,” says Gray.

SA's top green building achievers recognised
South Africa’s top rated Green Star SA buildings and leading green building professionals were announced in the Green Star SA Leadership Awards 2015 at the annual Green Building Convention in Cape Town.

The annual Green Star SA Leadership Awards, sponsored by Old Mutual Property, comprises four categories. For buildings, there are the Highest Rated Building and Best Quality Submission awards, while individual professionals are recognised as either a Rising Green Star or an Established Green Star.

Brian Wilkinson, CEO of the Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA), says the convention this year aimed to “inspire better buildings”, and this is exactly what leading building professionals and projects are achieving. “Like us, they constantly work towards designing, building and operating better, greener buildings that tread lightly on our stressed planet.”

RICS and SAIV to work closer together
The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the South African Institute of Valuers (SAIV) have formalised a long-standing working relationship with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which will see the two bodies collaborating closely in future.

The MoU was signed recently by Martin Brühl, president of RICS, and Mark Bakker, president of SAIV according to TC Chetty, RICS country manager for South Africa, who says as bodies which both have the public interest at heart, both RICS and SAIV promote high professional standards with the aim of building public confidence in the profession and the industry.

“As part of the MoU, the two organisations have agreed to share information such as research, industry standards and market data for mutual benefit. They will also promote one another’s conferences, events and workshops to their memberships, offering member rates to one another,” says Chetty.

Should sectional title schemes be self-managed?
While the majority of sectional title developments in South Africa are managed by professional management companies which handle day-to-day operations and necessary processes, some owners and bodies corporate choose to go the self-managed route.

Ultimately, this decision is about finding the best fit, and whether the chosen route will maintain and improve the value of the property.

This is according to David Rebe, CEO of Sandak-Lewin Property Trust, who says while the self-management option may save money as bodies corporate won’t be required to pay a management company, they often are not aware of the energy and time needed to effectively maintain the scheme and keep the residents happy.

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