Property 24/10 - 35

Buy a house - but how?
If you buy a house that has been lived in for a number of years it will cost you about 30% less than if you buy a brand new place that has never been occupied before according to figures released by First National Bank last week.

That got me thinking about the high cost of building and the more research I did - and the more thinking I did too - the angrier I became. Angry because building materials suppliers and property developers are ripping off the South African consumers.

A brand new 'affordable' apartment of 30 sqm costs around R300k in different parts of South Africa. It can be considerably more if you're buying something in Clifton or Camps Bay but the average cost per square metre for an 'affordable' property in reasonable suburbs (including Mitchell's Plain or Cosmo City) is around 10k per square metre.

Buy timeshare for about R1k a month
A lack of available finance for fractional ownership properties is hampering sales in a market that is showing average year-on-year growth of 22,4% claims Henry Greyling, chief executive of Seefff Fractional Ownership International.

Greyling claims that of the 116 fractional ownership properties sold over the year, only four of them generated returns of less than 15%.
There is apparently no structured, institutionalised funding for the products and most fractional ownership has to be self-funded according to Deon Viljoen, chairman of the Vacation Ownership Association of Southern Africa.

Infrastructure boosts rental market
Government investment in public transport infrastructure through improved rail and bus services will have a direct impact on property rentals in specific business nodes around the country claims David Reid, investment broker at JHI.

Main Street Johannesburg CBD, now carefully maintained as an attractive garden-like pedestrian walkway.

He says initiatives such as the Gautrain in Johannesburg and the bus rapid transit system that will connect outlying suburbs of Sandton and Sunninghill with the Johannesburg central business district and Soweto will have a direct impact on office rentals.

Johannesburg's Rea Vaya transport system is due to be fully operational by 2013.

Ins and outs of buying off-plan
Although the property market is still attempting to claw its way out of turbulent times, by all accounts we're on the road to recovery - and that means new developments that suffered horribly over the last two years are likely to begin re-emerging once again.

Guest expert Jaco Rademeyer is the owner and principal of Jaco Rademeyer Estates in Port Elizabeth, and is the Nedbank Property Professional of the Year for 2010. He obtained an LLB from Stellenbosch University with a special focus on contract law, and is a multiple Institute of Estate Agents award winner.

At this stage a second-hand property still represents far better value for most buyers than a brand new home, but there's no denying the allure of building your own brand-new house. For most consumers, that will mean purchasing in a new development - and in many cases, buying off-plan.

Clearly there's a wide range of things to consider when making a purchasing decision in a new development, not the least of which is to visit the development site and orientate yourself before carefully choosing a position for your unit.

Distressed properties - where are they?
A large pool of houses is on the market as a result of sellers who can no longer afford their bond repayments and these are available to South African buyers according to Jason Rohde of Lew Geffen Sotheby's International Realty. But he doesn't say where that large pool can be found.

"In the next three to four years, we can expect a property boom because the demand for housing will continue to outstrip supply," he says. "But right now developers are embarking on new projects and this will lead to a shortage of new housing stock available for sale in the future," he predicts.

Rohde says that sales volumes are increasing among most estate agents because there are hefty price discounts being offered and astute investors should be shopping for properties now, before the prices start to rise.

Do you suffer from 'green' guilt?
Green guilt is a new phenomenon. It doesn't affect devotees of SUVs, chlorine bleach, bottled water and paper napkins. Instead, it strikes consumers who are the most eco aware -- those who work hard to make smart environmental choices but sometimes slip, making decisions based on price or convenience instead of the welfare of the planet.

It happened again last night. In the midst of washing the dishes, a wave of green guilt washed over me. I had filled the sink with piping hot water and soap that was not phosphate-free, and rinsed some non-organic greens down the sink. The back door was open and the air conditioning was on.

Another tycoon's mansion sold
While Lolly Jackson's house in Kloof Road has been sold and his other property at Hartbeespoort Dam is about to go on auction, another business tycoon has also got rid of his mansion after confirmation that Roger Kebble had sold his Bantry Bay home for R39-million last week.

It was apparently bought by an unnamed young man of 33 who wanted it as a holiday getaway.
The triple-storey home in Bantry Bay has four bedrooms, wrap-around balconies, an excellent wine cellar, a gym, bar, library and heated swimming pool.

Luxury fittings imported from Italy adorn the bathrooms. The home has automated temperature controls and lighting, piped music and an indoor lift - presumably because Roger Kebble had trouble with his knees and his heart in recent years.

Investing in property 'together'
Shared ownership of property as a live-in home, holiday residence or 'To Let' investment is a viable option to finance your first property or to enter the property investment market. Whether you co-invest with a partner, spouse, friend or family, be sure to construct a solid legal foundation for this relationship.

An attorney should be consulted without hesitation to draw up a contract for every form of shared ownership, regardless of the investors' relationship. This contract should specify roles, contributions and what should be done in the event that friendships dissolve, couples separate, one party sells, another wants to buy-in or an investor dies. A pre-emption clause ensures that when one party leaves the investment - for whatever reason - theirshare in the property will be offered first to existing shareholders and then to other parties.

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