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Credit and mortgage advances
Absa - South Africa
Growth in household credit and mortgage balances remained low in a narrow range for some time

Subdued growth in the value of outstanding credit balances in the South African household sector continued up to May 2015, with year-on-year (y/y) growth that remained in a relatively narrow band for the past ten months. Growth of 3,2% y/y was recorded in the first five months of the year, which was the net result of a slight uptick in growth in household unsecured credit balances and marginally lower growth in secured credit balances compared with the period January to April this year.

Growth in the value of household secured credit balances (R1 089,9 billion at end-May and 76% of total household credit balances) came to 3,2% y/y at the end of May, much in line with growth of 3,3% y/y at end-April. Secured credit balances growth up to end-May was mainly determined by growth in mortgage balances (77,3% of household secured balances) and growth in instalment sales balances (22,4% of household secured balances), which slowed down further to 5,5% y/y from 5,8% y/y and 5,9% y/y at the end of April and March respectively.
Credit and mortgage advances

Future of towns and cities depends on new planning act
IolProperty - South Africa
On July 1, 2015 the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act (Spluma) comes into operation. As with many earthquakes the legislation, while long overdue, has arrived largely unannounced, but its ramifications will be seismic.

Spluma defines where and how we live now, and how we might live in the future. It lays down the process by which businesses and homes are built, and what towns and cities will look like. It is fundamental in creating a desirable place to grow and be oneself. Its chief tools are land use management schemes, and the future defining spatial development framework.

The act is what you would use if you wanted permission to build that granny flat on your property. It would also be the legislation which you would use to object to the five storey granny flat with the swimming pool on top that the neighbour built. The act defines how and where suburbs should become more dense and what land uses should be permitted. It defines how and where our towns and cities should grow and what that development should be. It also lays down the process for dealing with undesirable or illegal land uses.

The act replaces a slew of contradictory policies such as the provincial town planning ordinances and the Development Facilitation Act that have directed and confused the development of our towns and cities. Responsibility for making decisions on the land uses that will be permitted now sits with municipalities.

Property valuations must be accurate if a fair deal is to be achieved
Rawson - South Africa
This year, says Schalk van der Merwe, co-franchisee with his father Johann for the Rawson Property Group’s Somerset West franchise, the importance of valuing a residential property accurately prior to buying or selling it has become more and more evident – and yet, he says, inaccurate valuations are regularly being done every week in the Helderberg basin.

“Sellers in particular”, says van der Merwe,” should always ask their agents to explain and justify how they have arrived at the valuation they have submitted. If they cannot do this in a totally convincing way with adequate back up data, it is likely that they are not true professionals and their valuations cannot be relied on.

Agents working in big well branded property groups, added van der Merwe, almost invariably have access to reputable data banks which provide them with accurate statistics which, in turn, greatly simplify the valuation process. In some of the smaller agencies, however, says van der Merwe, they do not have access to accurate market information and therefore are prone to making mistakes.

Looking back on the last decade of property marketing, van der Merwe says that before the recession, most banks and some agents relied on what is known as desktop valuations.

Negotiating a multiple-offer market
ReMax - South Africa
With growing numbers of buyers ready and eager to enter the property market and the supply of available property diminishing, multiple-offer scenarios have become commonplace in today’s real estate sector. Buyers need to be prepared to go up against other buyers and ensure that their offer stands out in order to get the home that they have their heart set on.

In a scenario where one property is sought after by several buyers, a buyer needs to be able to have the negotiation tactics to ensure that the seller takes notice of their offer. There are a number of things that buyers can do to swing the seller’s attention in their favour and make their offer more enticing:

Offer more money
When it comes to negotiation, the buyer shouldn’t just say that they are serious about the deal, they should show it by putting down more money as a deposit or offering more than the other buyers are willing to. That said, buyers should always bear the market related price of the home in mind, and not put in an offer dramatically above that price, or what they can’t afford.

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