Property 24/10 - 73

Urban lifestyle homes gain momentum
A new generation of buyers leaning towards an urban lifestyle is snapping up property in locations such as the iconic Melrose Arch in Johannesburg.  

This mixed-used development and vibrant growth node offers a convenient live, work and play lifestyle. It also provides a sense of community amid attractive surrounds with attention to open green spaces.

Peet Strauss, Pam Golding Properties (PGP) Melrose Arch manager says this location typifies the lifestyle sought after by many buyers or varying age groups.

Most notably are DINKS buyers (dual income no kids) to singles with busy careers wanting a convenient location and healthy lifestyle, and even the older generation is eyeing Melrose Arch.

“Local buyers who travel frequently and are scaling down from large properties to still spacious, lock-up-and-go apartments, commuters from out of town working in Johannesburg and international buyers love this place.”

Squatters hamper Joburg development
Illegal settlements in and around Johannesburg are disrupting community developments and the city is wasting hundreds of thousands of Rands on legal fees to evict illicit occupants and demolish illegal structures according to the Johannesburg Property Company (JPC).

The organisation’s executive manager, Mlungisi Shongwe says that it costs about R50k per case to evict people and demolish the illegal structures that have been erected.

He warns that these costs cannot be recovered as squatters do not have any money available to pay the council.

Huge demand for homes in mining towns
Mining towns and villages are experiencing a surge in property demand thanks to the rising platinum prices and expansion of mining operations.

Estate agents operating in mining areas are reporting a never-seen before demand for properties to buy and to let.

In the North West mining village of Mooinooi and surrounds, the mining of platinum has renewed investor appetite in buying property.

According to Amelda Scheepers, principal of RealNet franchise in Mooinooi, this village located in the middle platinum belt between Brits and Rustenburg was hit hard in 2009 when the global recession saw the platinum price plunge from around $2000 an ounce to $800 an ounce almost overnight.

“Jobs and livelihoods were wiped out in days and no-one was interested in buying a home here, even at rock bottom prices,” says Scheepers.

More returns for commercial property
JSE listed company, Emira Property Fund has increased its investment in Growthpoint Properties Australia (Goz) an Australian listed property Reit.

Emira increased its investment by R61.1 million and will effectively own 8.2 percent of the units in Goz (23.8 million of the total number of units in issue).

The company made its first investment in Goz in May 2010 when it acquired 10.25million units or 6.4 percent of the units in issue at a cost of R116.6 million after being given regulatory permission to invest a portion of its funds abroad.

Asked what this means for investors, James Templeton, chief executive officer of Emira says the  Emira portfolio is now further diversified in terms of its asset, tenant and currency base which reduces the risk to investors.

Banks to retrench home loan staff
Home loan staff at two of South Africa’s major banks – Absa and FNB – are to be retrenched because the home loan market has fallen dramatically over the past few years. First National Bank’s chief executive, Jan Kleynhans confirmed that the bank is restructuring its home loan department.

He says that about 90 people have already been advised that they might be affected by the retrenchment programme. FNB currently employs about a thousand people in the home loan department countrywide.

He says that it is not possible to say how many people will actually leave the bank because ideally the bank would like to redeploy them into a different position.

Absa has declined to give details of its retrenchment plans but its deputy group chief executive, Louis van Zeuner says that it is reducing “duplication” and is focusing on programmes that will “enhance efficiencies” within the bank.

No unprofessional conduct by law firm
The Law Society of the Northern Provinces has found that there was no unprofessional conduct by Weavind & Weavind in its dealings with Sharemax and the legal firm’s managing director, Raiford Johnson says that firm is “delighted” with the finding.

He says that claims lodged against the company came from a single source and were spurious and malicious and “should not have received any attention”.

The complainants in the allegations against the law firm were Johanna Bosman and Toffie Risk but these complaints were allegedly withdrawn prior to the disciplinary hearing by the Law Society.

Pierre Hough, an adviser to the complainants says that he now intends to bring a court application against the firm to decide if Weavind & Weavind was guilty of professional negligence.

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