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SA’s property market: A bleak 2013
Moneyweb - South Africa
Strict lending criteria, rising household debt and living costs to depress the market.
JOHANNESBURG - Well-Known estate agents are mixed about what the property market holds in 2013 but most believe that household debt and rising living costs will put a damper on the ability of prospective buyers to qualify for bonds and become homeowners in 2013.

They also believe that bank’s strict lending criteria will depress the market.

According to Jan Davel, MD of the RealNet estate agency group, “household finances are likely to remain under severe pressure in 2013, which will limit the ability of prospective buyers to qualify for bonds andbecome homeowners”.

Real disposable incomes are likely to shrink due to such factors as Eskom tariff hikes, rising food and fuel prices, higher municipal rates and the introduction of e-tolling, he added.

Joburg unilaterally 'resolving' bill queries
Iol - South Africa
The City of Joburg has resorted to a new tactic to force residents to pay accounts that are under dispute.

It is unilaterally marking these queries as "resolved" on its computer systems, and closing them without informing residents of the decision.

The council then proceeds to cut off residents' services, only then informing them that their queries have been resolved, thereby not giving them the chance to log a further complaint or make an arrangement to pay.

The Star's Metrowatch has received several complaints from residents who believed that their billing complaints were still under investigation, but were suddenly handed pre-termination notices or had their services cut off.

And, to make matters worse, the council is also refusing to open a new query, saying it has been finally resolved.

DA councillor Linus Muller has requested an audit on all the resolved queries.

Property Barometer - September Residential Building Statistics
FNB - South Africa
Has residential building activity “settled down” for the long haul?
The release of September residential building statistics by StatsSA continues to show a very “settled” picture, with square metre-age of residential buildings completed hovering around levels similar to the pre-boom late-1990s. And over the past year we have seen only minor fluctuations above and below zero in terms of year-on-year percentage change in square metres completed. All in all, therefore, things look fairly settled.

Looking forward to 2013, I anticipate sideways movement in overall building activity at best, with the significant replacement cost gap keeping price competition with the existing home market tough, while the building sector may have to contend with a slower economic growth and slowing real household disposable income growth rate.

However, of significance may be a change in the composition of building activity in 2013, with flats and townhouses becoming a larger portion of total residential completions as the urban densification process proceeds, and with the relative price advantage of larger free standing full title properties having been whittled away by slightly better price growth in recent years, and by sharply rising operating costs in the form of rates and tariff hikes. “Smaller will thus be increasingly better” in the years to come.
Property Barometer Sep Building Stats 2012


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