Property 24/10 - 287

What you should know about getting a home loan in 2016
The home loan market is still being driven by first-time buyers according to the CEO of ooba, Rhys Dyer, who says 54% of applications are currently from first-time home buyers and this has an impact on loan-to-value (LTV), with 51% of applicants requesting a loan at 100% loan-to-value.

However, the percentage of final grants at 100% LTV has dropped to 37%.

“We have already started to see the impact of interest rate increases, as well as general increases in cost of living expenses on the consumer. Our approval rate has dropped from 76% in the first quarter of 2015, down to 72% now.”

Can you evict someone else's tenant?
One of the frustrating elements of communal living is noisy, unruly neighbours who refuse to respect the body corporate rules. Often, the culprits are tenants of an absent owner.

In some instances, trustees come under pressure to do something about the situation. The usual route is to speak to the owner who is then tasked with reigning in their tenant. But what happens when the tenant simply refuses to toe the line? Can the body corporate have them evicted?

The short answers is ‘no’, says Francois Venter, Director of Jawitz Properties. He says the tenant is not contractually bound by an agreement with the body corporate - only with the owner of the property.

However, they can enforce the body corporate rules.

SA property market: demand slows, stock levels improve
There are signs that activity levels in the South African residential property market are slowing somewhat, although the position remains “well-balanced” with more would-be buyers visiting show houses in the 4th quarter of 2015.

Estate agents pointed to a decline in activity levels for the 3rd successive quarter, and the 4th consecutive quarter on a seasonally-adjusted basis, according to the FNB Estate Agent Home Buying Survey for the 4th quarter of 2015.

This slowing may reflect the impact of “anaemic” economic growth in South Africa, which was just above 1% year-on-year as at the 3rd quarter of 2015, as well as gradual interest rate hiking by the SARB (South African Reserve Bank), says John Loos, household and property sector strategist at FNB Home Loans.

Property boom expected across African cities
South Africa is home to 15 million square metres of office space, while the rest of Africa, including North and Sub-Saharan Africa, contains a mere 6 million square metres according to a report by Jones Lang Salle. However, this is set to change. Africa is witnessing a remarkable growth of its city economies, with a rate of urbanisation that in some areas is pushing 9% a year.

The commercial real estate sector in Africa has been described as “poised for lift off” by expert analysts. But how will the continent capitalise on this sector to ensure that property markets foster economic growth and development?

It is to address this challenge that the Department of Construction Economics and Management at UCT has partnered with Nedbank Corporate and Investment Banking (NCIB), to form the UCT-Nedbank Urban Real Estate Research Unit under the directorship of Associate Professor Francois Viruly.

Joburg architecture students show innovation and flair
Innovative thinking is the mark of a fine architect, and it will take innovation to meet the architectural challenges of the future. Accompanying innovative thinking is the ever-advancing technology at architects’ disposal which, when fully utilised, can improve efficiency and further expand on individual designs according to Dirk Meyer, managing director of Corobrik.

He says the many aspects which make up fine design include the principles of sustainability, appropriate built cost and attractive lifecycle costs, technical skill and an appreciation of the social context of a structure in its community.

Meyer says this is particularly evident in South Africa where these various aspects must be deftly incorporated into structures that meet government’s requirements for an ever-expanding urban landscape.

However, he says it is creative flair that sets great architects above their peers as they strive to make exceptional and meaningful contributions to South Africa’s diverse and multi-cultural landscape.

Buying or selling: What should you do first?
With the competitive environment surrounding today’s real estate market, some homeowners who have decided to move to another property may find themselves asking whether it is best to first sell their existing property, or find another home before they sell their current one.

Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, says with high demand and low inventory, buyers need to move quickly when they find a property that they really want. For some this may mean putting in an offer while they still currently own another property.

“The answer to whether homeowners should look to buy first and sell their current property later, or sell before looking at other homes, will largely depend on their personal circumstances and unique situation,” says Goslett.

Estate agent commissions: How low should you go?
Sellers looking to maximise their profit on a sale often view their real estate agent’s commission as an ideal place to cut costs according to Tony Clarke, Managing Director of the Rawson Property Group, who says this can actually be detrimental to the success of a sale.

“Apart from a few unusual cases, South African estate agents work purely on a commission basis,” he says.

“That means they have two main ways to maximise their own income: sell fast, or sell high. As a seller, it’s obviously in your best interest for them to do the latter, but by lowering their commission, you’re lowering their incentive to do so.”

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