Property 24/10 - 8

Office vacancies soar in Q1 2010
The office vacancy percentage shot through the roof in 2010's first quarter (Q1).
This puts market rentals under pressure, but creates space for prospective tenants to negotiate good deals.

According to the South African Property Owners Association's (SAPOA) latest vacancy report for Q1 2010, vacancy rates are in double-digit terrain in several office nodes.

Anton de Goede, property portfolio manager at Coronation, says vacancies have increased in 27 office nodes across the country and dipped in 19. This brings the total office vacancy level in SA to 9,1%.

KZN building association gets tough
In the interest of safety and credibility, the Master Builders Association of KwaZulu-Natal has introduced a new programme for its members to subscribe to, whilst at the same time promoting their businesses.

Executive Director Brandon Abdinor says the KwaZulu-Natal initiative is targeted not only at raising the bar of the construction industry in the province but also at promoting those members who have proved compliance with the Codes of Conduct and applicable legislation.
"Full compliance means that members are listed on our online Find-a-Builder directory ( at no cost.

The directory allows visitors to search for a particular category of builder or contractor in the area the work is required. The search results then feed into individual member pages, which include information on the member, such as location, contact details, a brief company profile, references and photographs of work done.

NW to accelerate housing delivery
In honour of those who took part in the first democratic elections on 27 April 1994, the North West will accelerate the speed of quality housing delivery in the province.

MEC for Human Settlements Desbo Mohono urged municipalities to give preference to the most vulnerable people in society, especially the aged.

"Freedom Day is the right moment for all South Africans to remind themselves about the urgent task of expanding access to a better life for all and to reflect on government's record to change the lives of ordinary people for the better," said Mohono.

Retailers taking up space again
Retailers are scrambling to take up space in new shopping centres and centres that are being expanded. In most cases the centres are fully let before opening their doors.

However, the latest retail figures show consumers are less optimistic. Retail sales were disappointing in February dipping by 1,5% year-on-year (y/y), figures from Stats SA (SSA) showed.

Erwin Rode, property valuer and economist at Rode & Associates, says he is not convinced that the good times have arrived for shopping centres.

Rebate for energy-saving developers
The Department of Energy plans to offer a rebate for property developers who fit energy-saving features in buildings.

Tabling the department's Budget Vote on Tuesday, Minister of Energy Dipuo Peters said there were still many hotels that didn't have energy efficient systems that for example turned off power automatically in a guest's room when they left to go out.

She said the offer presented an opportunity for businesses and homeowners to invest in metering systems which could automatically switch off electricity when it wasn't needed.

Suing for shoddy houses
I absolutely love it. Minister of Human Settlements Tokyo Sexwale is going to start suing contractors who have built shoddy houses. The first target is civil action against a contractor who built 500 houses in Cala in the Eastern Cape and the other is for 2,000 houses in Tarkastad.

He is now in the same position as about a million ordinary South Africans who have tried to build a house.

So our mate Tokyo picks up his ministerial cell phone and calls the contractor:
"Hi George, it's Tokyo," he says as contractor George answers the phone.
"Nice to hear from you, bud. Howzit going?" comes the friendly reply.
"Well George, we've got a problem with the 2,000 houses that you've built for us in Tarkastad. . ."

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