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Tips for long distance home searches
ReMax - South Africa
Moving across the country, whether for employment opportunity or family reasons, can be a daunting endeavour. However, says Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, although it can be challenging at times, we live in an age where technology has made the world a smaller place which makes moving across the country - or the world for that matter - far less difficult.

Goslett provides a few tips for buyers who are looking to find the right property during a long distance search in an unfamiliar market:

Make use of the internet: Nine out of ten buyers will begin their property search online whether buying in the same neighbourhood or on the other side of the country. This is because buyers are able to access a massive amount of information within a short period of time and within the comfort of their own home. Goslett says that buyers will be able to find information about the cost of living in certain neighbourhoods, the average price of the homes available and what kind of amenities and schools are in and around the area.

Water-saving for sectional-title schemes
IolProperty - South Africa
Summer is on its way, and increased water tariffs, water shedding and looming water restrictions are all reminders of the scarcity of this resource in South Africa and the need to use it wisely. "This applies to the residents of sectional-title complexes just as much as to the owners of freehold homes," says Andrew Schaefer, managing director of national property management company Trafalgar.

"Water tariffs have risen by between 8 and 14 percent a year since 2008 and, since most units in sectional-title buildings don't have individual water meters, such increases are passed on to all owners, usually according to the participation quota (PQ) of their unit. Careful water usage, especially on the common property, is thus already a matter of concern for every member of the body corporate.

"In addition, pretty gardens and green spaces enhance home values, even in apartment and town house complexes, so it is also in the interests of owners and trustees to try to avert water shedding or the imposition of restrictions that usually result in gardens drying out."

Expats eye SA real estate as rand weakness continues
Rawson - South Africa
According to the Homecoming Revolution – the ‘brain gain company for Africa’ - almost 360 000 expat South Africans have returned home in the past five years, and another 34 000 are currently seriously considering their return.

And according to the results of a major new survey by business-oriented social networking service LinkedIn, SA currently ranks sixth among the top 20 countries in the world that are showing a net gain in the number of professionals migrating for work, behind Germany, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, and the UAE.

“Some of the main factors behind this repatriation trend,” says Rawson Property Group Managing Director Tony Clarke, “are the quality of life on offer in SA and the exciting employment opportunities that are increasingly opening up now for people with scientific, technical, engineering and maths (STEM) skills, as well as the natural attraction of living near family and friends.”

Credit and mortgage advances
Absa - South Africa
Further uptick in household credit and mortgage balances growth

The first nine months of 2015 saw the value of outstanding credit balances in the South African household sector rising by 4,3% year-on-year (y/y). The further uptick in growth towards the end of September from the preceding month came on the back of faster growth in household secured credit balances, driven by higher growth in the component of mortgage balances, whereas growth in unsecured credit balances was somewhat lower at end-September from end-August.

Growth in the value of household secured credit balances (R1 102,5 billion and 75,7% of total household credit balances) increased to 3,6% y/y at end-September from 3,4% y/y at the end of August, driven by faster growth in mortgage balances on the back of some base effects. Growth in instalment sales balances, 22,1% of household secured balances and mainly related to vehicle finance, continued its declining trend to 3,3% y/y in the nine-month period up to the end of September, with growth at its lowest levels since July 2007. The downward trend in instalment sales balances growth remains firmly in line with new vehicle sales volumes which dropped by 4% y/y in the first nine months of the year.

Household unsecured credit balances (R353,4 billion and 24,3% of total household credit balances) registered growth of 6,6% y/y at end-September, down from 6,8% y/y at the end of August. The slightly lower growth in unsecured balances came on the back of slower growth in the components of credit cards (down to 7,1% y/y from 7,4% y/y at end-August) and overdrafts (down to 8,8% y/y from 10% y/y at end-August), whereas growth in general loans and advances remained unchanged at 6% y/y by end-September compared with end-August.
Credit and mortgage advances

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