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Residential building statistics
Absa - South Africa
Double-digit growth in new housing planned in 2014, with the construction phase contracting from the previous year

Growth in the planning phase of residential building activity in the South African market for new housing, as reflected by the number of building plans approved by local government authorities, was in 2014 at its highest level in more than 10 years. However, the construction phase of new housing, i.e. the volume of housing units reported as completed, contracted for the second consecutive year. These trends are based on data published by Statistics South Africa in respect of building activity related to private sector-financed housing (see explanatory notes).

The number of new housing units for which building plans were approved increased by 12,6% to a total of 56 871 in 2014. This was the strongest growth since 2002, with the volume of plans approved at its highest level since 2008. The segments of smaller-sized houses (<80m²) and flats and townhouses were the main contributors to the increased level of plans approved. These two segments of housing were also a strong focus of housing supply over the past two decades (see table on page 2 of the report). Although not all housing planned will eventually be built, the expectation is that the marked improvement in the planning of new housing in 2014 will be reflected in the construction phase in due course.
Building stats Dec 2014

Get bond insurance as well as HOC
BetterBond - South Africa
When you buy a new home, the bank will usually insist that you obtain a Home Owners’ Insurance (HOC) policy to provide for the replacement of a property that has been damaged or destroyed by fire, flood, high wind, earthquake or other disaster. Such policies often also provide insurance against less serious damage resulting from burst geysers, falling trees and collapsing garden walls and they are most useful for giving you peace of mind, as a borrower, that you will not end up having to pay off a home loan on a property that has been destroyed while also trying to pay for your home to be rebuilt.

However, most lenders will be less insistent that you take out life insurance to cover the outstanding balance of your home loan and pay it off in the event of your death, says Shaun Rademeyer, CEO of BetterBond Home Loans, SA’s leading mortgage origination group. “Also known as bond insurance, this can make all the difference to your family at that time by enabling them to stay on in a home that is fully paid off, and you should thus consider it very seriously.”
Get bond insurance as well as HOC

How to choose the right managing agent
Trafalgar - South Africa
Most people who have experienced Sectional Title living will agree that it is a good idea for the trustees to appoint a managing agent. “But most will also qualify that statement by saying they must take care to choose the right agent – and to monitor that agent’s activities very closely,” says Andrew Schaefer, MD of leading national property management company Trafalgar.

“There have been a number of cases in recent years of managing agents misappropriating body corporate funds, and there are those who feel that even though the trustees in those schemes can’t be blamed, the extent of the damage to owners would have been much less if the trustees had been less ‘trusting’ and more vigilant.”

Nevertheless, he says, Sectional Title (ST) ownership is a heavily legislated and regulated form of property ownership and most owners and trustees will admit that they really don’t know enough about the Sectional Titles Act and the prescribed management rules to successfully run an ST scheme on a day-to-day basis – even if they can manage the finances.
How to choose the right managing agent

It's more bricks and mortar for the über-rich
Sotheby's International Realty
More than 80% of the world’s richest people own two or more residences that they bought for personal use rather than as investments – and the total value of these properties jumped 8% in 2014 to more than US$3-trillion. These are the just-released findings of a new survey by global luxury real estate brokerage Sotheby’s International Realty and private wealth consultancy Wealth-X, which details current real estate tends among the 211 275 individuals in the world who have $US30m or more in assets and are thus defined as Ultra-High Net Worth Individuals or UHNWIs.

This survey also found that:

*In 2014, the wealth of more than 7% of UHNWIsactually came from real estate, compared to 5% in 2013.
*Super-rich women value real estate assets more than their male counterparts, holding 16% of their net worth in such assets, on average, compared to less than 10% for men.
Bricks and mortar for the super rich

Stocks shrink as more people stay put
IolProperty - South Africa
There are serious stock shortages in the South African property market says Lanice Steward of Knight Frank Residential SA. This could be because of a number of reasons, she says.

"The first could be the high cost of moving. Transfer fees on a home come to about 8 percent of the purchase price, which means that buyers need an extra R80 000 for every million rand the home is worth. In addition to this there are many other costs in moving home, such as the cost of minor renovations and repairs to the property, curtains or blinds, the moving company, transfer of items like telephone and ADSL lines, and a host of other items that must be added to the overall budget of moving to a new home.

"Many home owners prefer to take the R400 000 that would be spent in various costs on a R5m home, for instance, and put it towards a major renovation of their existing property instead of moving house, which makes financial sense.

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