Property 24/10 - 42

Buying property overseas - pros & cons
While foreign properties might appear to be an attractive option for South African investors, Rael Levitt, chief executive of Auction Alliance warns that without some specialised guidance, property investors could risk losing a fortune in these markets.

The increase in the annual overseas allowance to R4m, coupled with the favourable exchange rate of the Rand makes overseas investments an attractive option.

The increase in the annual overseas allowance to R4-million, coupled with the favourable exchange rate of the Rand makes buying property overseas an attractive investment option.
Broll investment broker, David Adams claims that commercial property investments in Britain have been an interesting and rewarding diversification for South African investors and says that now is an opportune time for people to invest in the UK market.

He says commercial property capital values in Britain fell by between 40% and 50% in the current cycle. However, Adams points out that these capital values have risen and pricing has recovered by up to 30% in some sectors of the commercial property market.

Unscrupulous property dealings
This is the year that all estate agents are supposed to be licensed and registered, have a certificate to prove their competence and have the ability to guide people properly when it comes to making the biggest investment of their lives.

By 2011 all estate agents operating in South Africa have to be properly registered and must have a Fidelity Fund certificate issued by the Estate Agency Affairs Board.
They must have also undergone a rigorous training course to prove that they know what they are doing in terms of the various property acts that govern land ownership in the country?

The real aim of this legislation is to prevent South African consumers from being ripped off by unscrupulous estate agents and property developers who quickly devise some con or other to separate people from their money.

Grey - 'cool' kitchen colour
Home owners and designers alike have discovered grey - a sometimes cold and dull colour - to be an inspiring and complimentary summer colour for interiors and especially in kitchens.

Grey is a neutral colour and can therefore be warm when combined with browns or creams.
Grey is a neutral colour and can therefore be warm when combined with browns or creams, or it can be cool and crisp with blues and whites. Different hues of grey are available too, which work nicely with silvers, greens and mahoganies. Sounds perfect right? But on application, using grey in your kitchen is not as easy as it sounds.

Robyn Foster from Mortice & Tenon, a local boutique joinery company, has worked with international interior architect Nouschka Ocenasek from Dish Interior Concepts & Design to create many sought after and stylish kitchens. Here they share their expert tips and advice on how to achieve the 'grey look' in one of their kitchens.

Provinces fail to meet housing targets
Four provinces in South Africa have failed to meet their low-cost housing delivery targets or to spend the housing budgets allocated to them and the Department of Human Settlements will no longer continue providing funds to these provinces.

The four provinces are the Eastern Cape, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape.
According to Thabane Zulu, Human Settlements director-general the provinces had fallen behind in housing delivery and as a result the allocation from the national budget would be cut.

The department spends about R14-billion a year on housing projects.

Property prices set for modest growth
Residential property prices will achieve modest growth this year, and home buyers should take advantage of the current favourable environment, financial services provider ooba said on Tuesday.

"This is likely to be at a reduced rate than the level of growth recorded last year, however with interest rates remaining at historically low levels home buyers are being urged to take advantage of the current environment to secure a favourable home loan," the company's chief operating officer Rhys Dyer said in a statement.

People could expect nominal growth in property prices of between four and five percent for the year.

"This is very much in line with inflation forecasts, resulting in very little real growth in property prices for the year."

Jobs increase could help house sales
While the outlook for property prices in the coming year looks sluggish and dull, the formal employment sector is looking slightly better according to Adcorp's Employment Index.

It says that while the number of permanent workers in South Africa decreased by 0,21%, the job prospects in the retail and wholesale sectors increased by 9,58%. Jobs in the transport, storage and communications sector were up by 4,6%.

The index says that these figures point to more buoyant end-of-year retail activity.
However, it points out that there had been significant job losses in the construction sector where employment fell by 10,93% and these losses could be attributed to the completion of some major projects - such as the stadiums for last year's World Cup - along with a lag in new infrastructure development projects.

Buy a home you will 'love'
When you are buying a property, it's important to find a home that not only offers good value for money and a good location, but is also a place that you will love living in.

If you're 'shopping' for a new home make a list of everything you want and don't want in a home - and work out what it will really cost you!

There needs to be a balance, says Harcourts Africa CEO Richard Gray. "These days we find that many homebuyers are more focused on the investment potential of a property than on whether it meets the needs of their family."

He says that no matter how great the growth potential, if your home does not appeal to you and feel comfortable, it is very unlikely you will live there long enough for that growth to materialise and give you a good return on your investment.

Consequently, Gray suggests buyers do some careful thinking about what sort of home and lifestyle they want before they venture into the market.

Agents and banks - homeloan alternatives
I am thoroughly sick and tired of estate agents trying to "talk up" up the property market with predictions about what house prices will do this year, how they will rise and how sales activity will increase when, in truth, these estate agents could be doing so much more than just talking.

I have a simplistic and, I believe, realistic view of most things that unfold in this strange, complex and multi-facetted society of ours and because of this I try to look beyond much of the hype and hysteria that occurs and get down to the actual nub of a particular issue.

And, for me anyway, the reality of the property market today is simple: banks aren't lending money and they are making it really hard for prospective homebuyers to get a bond so they can buy a home.

If banks lend money freely, then the property market will boom. If banks make it damned nigh impossible to borrow money then the property market will remain in a slump. Where is the property market right now? Smack bang in the middle of a slump.

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