Property 24/10 - 43

Joburg, PE property most affordable
Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth offer the best balance between salaries, affordable homes and the cost of living according to a salary survey compiled by JobCrystal and figures contained in the Absa Housing Review.

Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth property might be the most affordable but Durban residents have the highest happiness levels, according to the JobCrystal survey.

Salaries in Port Elizabeth for white-collar workers are 16% lower than the national average of R19 293 but house prices in the area were also 16% lower than the middle-segment of R1,02-million.

According to Hano Jacobs, chief executive of Reality 1 International, this means that repayments on a home loan are equivalent to 43% of the salary. In Johannesburg the bond-repayment-to-salary ratio is also 43%.

In Pretoria and Bloemfontein, the ratio climbs to 46% whereas in Cape Town the ratio is 52%. Durban, with its depressed house prices and low salaries, has a ratio of 48%.

City workers support Joburg residents
Workers employed by the City of Joburg were outraged when instructed to cut-off electricity supplies to hundreds of residents who had allegedly not paid their bills. Council workers at the Braamfontein offices engaged in a three-hour strike in response to a management decision to cut power.

Council employees were angered by the great many complaints that they get from irate citizens who keep getting incorrectly billed or have their electricity supplies unfairly or incorrectly suspended.

Council employees were angered by the great many complaints that they get from irate citizens who keep getting incorrectly billed or have their electricity supplies unfairly or incorrectly suspended.

However, Kgamanyane Stan Maphologela, deputy director of revenue, denied that the staff had been on strike and claimed, instead that it was a normal meeting between staff and management on how to deal with customers who have had their supplies suspended.

Offices become student flats
Property developers in Pretoria and Johannesburg have invested millions of rands in new student accommodation that is not only a respectable quality but is also close to the campuses and surrounded by a number of retail shops.

In Pretoria, Hatfield has seen several major new blocks of apartments being built along Burnett Street while in Johannesburg Aengus Property Management (APM) has redeveloped a number of buildings and transformed them into student accommodation.

Government estimates are that there are 100 000 off-campus residential units for a student population of about 530 000. Statistics show that just 20% of students throughout the country will manage to get accommodation on a university campus.

According to APM's marketing director, Simon Rubin, students are becoming increasingly discerning about the accommodation they are prepared to pay for and are no longer prepared to live in dormitory-style accommodation where they are forced to share facilities with other students.

Conditional sale - time limits
Property sellers should always add a time limit to any suspensive condition of sale. This is important in the event that, should the buyer fail to meet the condition but continue to hold the seller to the agreement, the seller would then be bound and unable to cancel the sales contract.

Conditional or suspensive sale conditions in a property sales agreement should always have a time limit.

Long delays can be extremely costly and cause much unforeseen and unnecessary stress.

A recent court case, says Lanice Steward MD of Anne Porter Knight Frank, has shown that if and when a property sale agreement is made conditional on some future action, it must be accompanied by a time limitation clause.

In the court case Geyser and Another vs. Silver Charm Investments, says Steward, the Geysers had sold the water rights of a portion of a farm to Silver Charm Investments subject to them being able to acquire the property from the then owners and to Silver Charm Investments being awarded an essential water usage licence from the Department of Waterworks and Forestry.

Special property for sale in Cape Town
A number of different properties have come onto the Cape Town property market as 2011 kicks into gear and property owners - working with estate agents - look to sell their homes.

In Hout Bay a thatched home on an elevated 1 200 sqm stand with views of the bay and Chapman's Peak Drive has the feel of a game lodge, with its double-volume rooms that are a bit like two African rondavels joined together.

This unique property in Hout Bay, Cape Town is set on over 1200sqm, and is priced at R11.995m.

The property is on the market for almost R12-million and includes all the furnishings. It offers an open-plan lounge and dining room, a kitchen with separate scullery and three en-suite bedrooms. There is a guest suite with a kitchenette downstairs.

The home also offers a third reception room, a gym and Turkish steam bath and a wine cellar. It has a large entertainment area, a swimming pool and three garages.

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.

Bank loans - know facts when building
When it comes to securing a loan to build a new home, it is essential for the owner to provide a range of additional documents to the financial institution before the loan will be finalised or payments can be made to the builders.

The Property Factor's Tess Rodrigues says that the first stage of building has to be financed by the owner and only after that will the bank allow progress payments to be made to the builder.

According to The Property Factor's Tess Rodrigues, anyone who wants to use bank finance to build a new property must provide copies of the plans, a copy of the tender and building contract, a certificate from the National Home Builders' Registration Council (NHBRC) and a schedule of finishes along with a detailed list of specifications.

The other standard documents, such as an Offer to Purchase, identity documents of the owners and proof of income must also be supplied.

Should the bank approve the loan, the conveyancing attorneys then needs to have the mandatory FICA documents, a copy of the approved plans from the municipal authority, a building contract and a waiver of a lien from the builder, a copy of the builder's insurance certificate and proof that the property has been enrolled with the NHBRC.

Top 7 feng shui home tips
Balance, harmony and space
Feng shui is the ancient Chinese art of arranging objects, such as the internal placement of furniture in a space, to achieve maximum harmony with one's environment. It has been widely documented to have an exceptionally positive impact on your living environment, because at its core, feng shui is a very practical way of organising the items you already own into a clutter-free and practical arrangement.

Feng shui pivots around the concepts of balance, harmony and space. By introducing feng shui into your home, you will need to get rid of clutter, broken items, and so forth. Practically speaking, this can truly open up your living spaces, to create a more attractive, spacious and functional home. The end result of creating a home that is in harmony with feng shui principles is to open the door to a better quality of life.

As mentioned before, balance is a core element of feng shui, and to create balance in your home environment, you will need to assess whether your home or a particular room is overwhelmed by one element (water, fire, wood or metal), and if so, you will need to introduce other elements into the space to create a better balance and harmony. For example, if your bathroom is minimalist and very modern, it may promote a very clinical and uninviting feel. To counteract this and restore the balance, you can introduce some warmth in the form of candles or perhaps some plants.

Firs redevelopment offers promise
The redevelopment of The Firs and Hyatt Regency in Rosebank, Johannesburg is aimed at getting the most out of this property asset according to the owners, Investec Property, who believes the Gautrain will boost activity in the suburb.

The Firs restaurant piazza is already a firm favourite amongst Johannesburg's cafe society. Restaurants include Doppio Zero offering a Mediterranean food experience, Koi an Asian contemporary restaurant, Kuzina for those who love Greek food and Mahi Mahi serving Continental European cuisine.

The redevelopment includes a new restaurant piazza which will provide synergies with the rest of Rosebank's pedestrian and street-level shopping complexes.

The Firs restaurant piazza opens onto Cradock Avenue and is intended to create a seamless flow with the rest of the Rosebank shopping node. The redevelopment comprises 8 000 sqm metres of office space, 4 100 sqm of specialty retail space and is combined with the 244 rooms and 15 suites in the Hyatt Regency hotel.

According to Investec's Sam Leon, Rosebank was earmarked as an area that was ripe for redevelopment and it was with this in mind that Investec Property acquired The Firs and Hyatt complex.

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