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City centres hold best prospects for buy-to-let investors
Trafalgar Property Group - South Africa
Apartment rentals in SA have increased by an average of just 14,07% in the past two years, according to the Residential Rental Index compiled by national property management company Trafalgar.

“What is more, the average rate of growth has slowed this year to just over 6% - or approximately the rate of inflation - compared to around 8% in 2013 and the 10% annual increases that were the norm historically,” says Trafalgar MD Andrew Schaefer. “In fact, rentals have even declined in certain areas compared with 2013, and this clearly illustrates the increasing strain that has been placed on the household budgets of both tenants and landlords this year by higher food, fuel and transport costs, rocketing utility costs and higher debt repayment costs due to the 0,75 percentage point increase in interest rates.
Best Prospects for buy-to-let investors

Buyer advice: What to do if negotiations stall
BetterBond - South Africa
Although it could take weeks or even months just to find your dream home, that is actually only the first step towards making it your own. "Next you need to get the sellers to accept your offer to purchase, and that might not be as easy as you think, says Shaun Rademeyer of BetterBond.

"For example, you may have competition from other prospective buyers, or the sellers may be determined to achieve a certain price and unwilling to negotiate, even if that price is above market value. "Unfortunately, just because you're a serious and financially able buyer, it does not mean that the property sellers are equally keen to seal a deal - or that they are obliged to accept your offer." However,he says, it also does not mean that they should be able to keep you on a string while they see if a better offer comes along.
Stalled Negotiations

Be careful when renting 'long-distance'
IolProperty - South Africa
It has become common to rent a holiday home by going online or contacting the landlord by phone, but renting property "long distance" is an opportunity for con-artists to operate scams that leave holidaymakers out of pocket and without accommodation.

If you are renting through a property portal (or website), it is common that the property will be rented unseen and without meeting the estate agent or landlord face-to-face. This is the most high-risk scenario, so authenticating the credibility of the landlord or estate agent is important, Michelle Dickens, the managing director of credit bureau TPN, says.

Dickens has the following advice if you intend to rent a holiday home in another part of the country:

New Rental Housing Amendment Bill
Rawson - South Africa
Although there is as yet no finality on when it will be enacted, the new Rental Housing Amendment Bill will almost certainly at some stage in the not-too-distant future be on the statute books and, says Shaun Groves, National Manager of the Rawson Property Group’s Rental Franchise division, every landlord should be aware of the changes that the new act will bring about (it should be noted, however, that the act will only be enforced six months after it has been enacted).

“One of the main successes”, said Groves, “is that where it previously (in terms of the Rental Housing Act of 1999) was stipulated that a rental agreement had to be in writing, only if the tenant asked for this – with the result that many agreements were only verbal – the new act insists that a lease has to be written and that certain specific clauses have to be contained within it.”

Although they have not yet been issued, provision has, it is said, been made by the relevant Government department to make standard leases available in all eleven official languages. However, said Groves, he would go along with such legal firms as Smith Tabata Buchanan Boyes, who have recommended that these should be checked by an attorney operating in the landlord’s area and familiar with the special provisions that frequently apply to certain rented properties.

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

Growth in the total value of outstanding credit balances in the South African household sector came in lower at 3,6% year-on-year (y/y) at the end of October 2014 from 3,8% y/y at end-September. Growth in both household secured and unsecured credit balances was marginally lower at end-October, driven by a slower pace of growth in the largest components of secured and unsecured credit balances, i.e. mortgages and general loans and advances.

Household secured credit balances (R1 067,1 billion at end-October and 76,1% of total household credit balances) saw growth of 2,9% y/y at the end of October, down from 3,1% y/y at end-September and at its lowest level since January 2012. Secured credit includes instalment sales, leasing finance and mortgage loans.

Growth in household unsecured credit balances (amounting to R334,4 billion and 23,9% of total household credit balances) slowed down to 5,8% y/y at the end of October from 6% y/y at the end of September. The largest component of unsecured credit balances with a share of 60,6%, i.e. general loans and advances (largely personal loans and micro finance), recorded growth of 2,9% y/y at end-October this year, down from 3,7% y/y at the end of September. Unsecured credit consists of general loans and advances, credit card debt and overdrafts.
Credit and mortgage advances (Oct 2014)

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