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Unlocking the value in ‘abandoned’ sectional title units
Trafalgar Property - South Africa
What happens when the levy and bond arrears on a sectional title unit together total more than the property is worth?

“There is no provision in the Sectional Titles Act for the body corporate to write off levy arrears and facilitate the sale of the unit in such cases,” says Andrew Schaefer, MD of leading national property management company Trafalgar, “but they are occurring more and more often, especially in inner city blocks of flats where there has been no strong body corporate or group of trustees to prevent levy arrears getting out of hand, and a solution needs to be found.”

Ideally, he says, what should happen when an owner gets into arrears with the levies and won’t or can’t pay the outstanding amount is for the body corporate to obtain a debt judgment and sale in execution order, so that the unit can be attached by the Sheriff and auctioned off to a new owner at a price that at least covers the levy debt and whatever bond amount may be outstanding at that time.
Unlocking the value

Five signs that it’s time to move down the property ladder
Chas Everitt - South Africa
We usually think of people moving up the property ladder – from their first small flat to a townhouse and then to a family home. And with the growing trend towards multigenerational living and the need for extra space to accommodate adult children or ageing parents, that’s where many people stop their property journey.

But there are many others for whom taking a step or two down the property ladder now also makes very good sense in the light of increasing property rates and utility costs, says Berry Everitt, MD of the Chas Everitt International property group.

“Indeed, First National Bank reports following its latest estate agent survey that about one in four home sales currently is being generated by middle-aged owners seeking to move to a smaller, more secure and lower-maintenance property.
Five signs to move

Property sales upswing 'best since recession'
IolProperty - South Africa
South Africa's property market is showing signs of steady growth, with the Western Cape scene looking particularly promising.

The Investment Property Databank South Africa Biannual Indicator, released recently, showed that the South African property sector delivered an improved 7.4 percent total return for the first six months on this year. This is 90 basis points more than the December 2013 biannual total return of 6.5 percent.

Commenting on the recent performance of the Western Cape's retail property sector, the chairman of Seeff Properties, Samuel Seeff, said there was a significantly better mood in the property market this year.

'Momentum started building early last year and activity continues strong monthon-month. In fact, activity in the Cape metro this year is at the best levels since the 2007/8 downturn, not only in the mid-market sector but also at the top end of the market.'

He said sales across the Atlantic Seaboard and City Bowl were up by 35 percent and across the southern suburbs by about 40 percent, Hout Bay by about 100 percent, the False Bay area by more than 20 percent, Somerset West by 40 percent while the Boland, Winelands and Country areas were up by more than 30 percent, year on year.

What you need to know about land loans
BetterBond - South Africa
Although land and stand purchases generally only account for a small percentage of property transactions, they are increasing, probably in response to the growing shortage of built properties for sale in many popular areas and the concomitant rise in property prices.

“Many people view buying a stand as a good way to get a foothold in a sought-after area or estate, even if they can’t afford to build a home on it just yet,” says Shaun Rademeyer, CEO of BetterBond Home Loans, SA’s leading mortgage origination group,“while others just see such purchases as good medium to long-term investments.”

And values are rising, according to the latest Absa Housing Review. This puts the average stand price in SA at R587 400 now, or 3,1% ahead of where it was a year ago. It also says that land for new middle-segment and luxury housing accounted for 26,4% of the value of all properties sold in these categories in the second quarter of this year.
What you need to know

Credit and Mortgage Advances
Absa - South Africa
Growth in household credit and mortgage balances slows down further

The total value of outstanding credit balances in the South African household sector came to R1 391,6 billion at the end of August 2014, which was R2,9 billion down on total credit balances of R1 394,5 billion at end-July. This was mainly the result of lower unsecured credit balances up to August, while mortgage balances were also down from July, which could be related to rising financial strain experienced by the household sector against the background of inflationary pressures, declining real income growth and higher interest rates. Household credit balances, showing growth of 3,6% year-on-year (y/y) at end-August, which was the lowest growth since March 2010, comprise of instalment sales, leasing finance, mortgage loans, overdrafts, credit card debt, and general loans and advances (mainly personal loans and micro finance).

Household secured credit balances (amounting to R1 063,1 billion and 76,4% of total household credit balances) recorded growth of 3,4% y/y at end-August, down from 3,8% y/y at end-July, with growth at its lowest level since April 2012. Secured credit includes instalment sales, leasing finance and mortgage loans to households.
Credit and mortgage advances

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