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August 2016 House Price Indices
Absa - South Africa
Continued slowdown in middle-segment house price growth

August 2016 saw year-on-year growth in the average nominal value of middle-segment homes in the South African housing market slowing down further to its lowest level in almost four years. Monthly nominal price growth came to a virtual standstill in August, after being on a declining trend during the course of the year. In real terms, i.e. after adjustment for the effect of consumer price inflation, house prices contracted unabatedly on a year-on-year and month-on-month basis in the first seven months of the year.

Nominal price growth of 3,8% year-on-year (y/y) was recorded in middle-segment housing in August this year, with real price deflation of 1,7% y/y registered in July.

The average nominal value of homes in each of the middle-segment categories was as follows in August 2016:

  • Small homes (80m²-140m²): R939 000
  • Medium-sized homes (141m²-220 m²): R1 312 000
  • Large homes (221m²-400m²): R1 973 000

House Price Indices Aug 2016

A green thumb for a great price
Harcourts - South Africa
Spring has arrived and many South Africans are eagerly hoping to get stuck into their gardening. Not only an enjoyable pastime, landscaping and garden maintenance is a surprisingly good investment, provided it is well designed.

The outdoor garden typically defines the first impression of a home for potential buyers. This is especially true for an environment like South Africa, given the size of many of our residential properties, and our fondness for outdoor living.

A study in the United States found that the attractive landscaping and well-maintained gardens added between 6% and 11% to the value of a property. Research in the UK suggests that it could improve property values by as much as 20%.
A green thumb

Are rental 'screening fees' legal?
IolProperty - South Africa
In cities where the demand for rental properties is high and stock is low, finding a property is increasingly challenging and expensive. It's made all the more costly by the charging of large application fees by some agents, who are effectively passing on to tenants the cost of screening them.

A young couple from Cape Town told Personal Finance this week that they had effectively been disqualified from applying to rent properties in the city because of hefty application fees charged by agents. One agent told them they would be liable for a R700 application fee, payable irrespective of whether or not their application was successful. Two other agencies quoted them fees of R700 and R800, which they would be liable to pay only if their application was successful and they secured the lease.

Considering that the couple will have to put down a deposit equal to two months' rent, and their first month's rent is payable in advance, they have had to save R21 000 for a one-bedroom flat in Cape Town. They now need an extra few thousand rand to cover what they regard as unreasonable application fees.

How deregistered companies can affect commercial property sales
Rawson - South Africa
When purchasing a property from a company or close corporation (CC) it is essential to ascertain whether the selling entity is currently registered with the Companies and Intellectual Properties commission or CIPC, previously known as CIPRO. If a company or CC fails to submit their annual returns for two or more years or has been inactive for at least seven years, the Companies Commissioner may deregister that company. This renders it unable to sell or transfer any property it owned.

“This is very much a case of: the buyer beware,” says Leon Breytenbach, National Manager of the Rawson Property Group’s commercial division, “since it is very common for neither the public nor the affected company to be aware of the actual deregistration, once it has taken place. Thus,” he continues, “many third parties with no knowledge of the incapacity continue to transact with deregistered companies. Affected companies that are unaware of their deregistered status also carry on with their business, ignorant of their illegality.”

Jeremy Cronin to speak on Expropriation Bill at Rode-REIM Conference 2016
Rode - South Africa
A highlight on the calendar of the South African property industry, the annual conference jointly organised by renowned property economist Erwin Rode of Rode & Associates and Real Estate Investor Magazine, will take place in Johannesburg on 27 September and in Cape Town on 29 September.

This year’s event, sponsored by Greystone Residential, will see audiences in both centres addressed by the South African Deputy Minister of Public Works, Jeremy Cronin (who will talk on the Government’s Expropriation Bill) and Stephen Brookes of Balwin Properties (on the case for new property developments in South Africa).

Both centres will also hear panel discussions with experts in the field on the increase in offshore investments in the global village, as well as Erwin Rode’s annual assessment on the prospects for property in the year ahead.
Jeremy Cronin to speak on Expropriation Bill

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