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Buyers at risk with delay of Property Practitioners' Bill
HouseCheck - South Africa
The publication of the new Property Practitioners' Bill has been delayed and the absence of this law compromises the consumer protection of all South African home buyers says John Graham, founder of HouseCheck.

Last year the Department of Human Settlements and its subsidiary the Estate Agency Affairs Board were hard at work on the new Property Practitioners Bill (PPB) which is planned to accomplish the following:

  • Convert the Estate Agency Affairs Board into the Property Practitioners' Regulatory Authority (PPRA).
  • Tighten-up governance by the PPRA of estate agents who, in terms of the PPB, are to become known as "Property Practioners".
  • Regulate home inspectors (also called property surveyors), who are now to be called Property Assessment Practitioners (PAPs). The PPRA is to regulate both training standards and the professional activities of PAPs.
  • Remove all jurisdiction of consumer protection, as this relates to property transactions, from the ambit of the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) and bring this under the jurisdiction of the PPRA.

Government's intentions for the proposed PPB are extremely praiseworthy.
Buyers at risk

House price indices
Absa - South Africa
House price growth slows down further across segments
Year-on-year growth in the average nominal value of homes in the various categories of middle-segment housing in the South African residential property market slowed down further across all categories of housing in May 2015. Taking account of the effect of inflation, some real house price deflation was evident in each category of housing in April compared with a year ago.

The ongoing declining trend in month-on-month house price growth of the past number of months also contributes to the slowdown in year-on-year price growth. Some marginal nominal month-on-month price deflation has already occurred in some segments of the market over the past few months. In real terms, house prices were on average still down by more than 11% in April this year compared with the peak in August 2007.

The average nominal value of homes in each of the middle-segment categories was as follows in May 2015:

  • Small homes (80m²-140m²): R832 000 
  • Medium-sized homes (141m²-220 m²): R1 190 000
  • Large homes (221m²-400m²): R1 864 000

House Price Indices May 2015

Property analyst warns against 'buyer panic'
IolProperty - South Africa
About a third of all first-time home buyers in South Africa are suffering from buyer panic, a fear they may not be able to afford a house in the future if they do not buy now.

John Loos, a household and property sector strategist at FNB Home Loans, expressed surprise at the perceptions of the level of first-time buyer panic over the past five quarters in its estate agent surveys.

These surveys revealed that first-time buyer panic increased to 38 percent in the first quarter of this year from 30 percent in the first quarter of last year. This question was first included in the surveys from the fourth quarter of 2013.

Loos stressed that there was little reason for first-time buyers to panic because house prices were not rising fast.

Who can be held liable when a home is found to have a defect after transfer has taken place?
Rawson - South Africa
One of the things that estate agents in all price categories find very difficult to handle is those situations in which, after taking transfer and moving into a home, the buyer finds something wrong with it – and then blames the agent for not spotting or knowing about this defect or for not revealing it to him.

Right now, says Wayne Albutt, Regional Sales Manager for the Rawson Property Group in the Western Cape, potential changes to various applicable legislations are being tabled which may aid or complicate these matters further. It is possible, he says, that it will become mandatory to have a home checked and passed by a qualified building inspector – and the cost of this will probably have to be borne by the buyer.

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