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Level three Regulations - estate agents can go back to work
South Africa - Government Gazette
The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) has outlined the regulatory changes for South Africa’s lockdown level 3.

Broadly, the regulations look to open up the South African economy by allowing more people to return to work, while also lowering the restrictions on personal movement. There is no mention of residential or commercial estate agents on the list of exclusions. Accordingly, as of Monday 1 June 2020, all estate agents can go back to work.

Macroeconomic forecasts for 2020: Housing market
South Africa - FNB
Annual house price growth fell to 1.9% y/y in April, down from 2.5% in March – the slowest pace since December 2009. Importantly, the impact of the lockdown on the housing market is yet to fully reflect in the data. This is because our house price index is constructed using mortgage approval data, and there is generally a lag between mortgage applications being submitted and approved. Approximately 60% of the April sample relate to applications that commenced prior to the lockdown.

Since the implementation of the lockdown, market activity has come to a halt. Preliminary data shows that volumes plummeted by around 60% y/y in April (or 62% compared to the last twelve months’ average monthly volumes). This is consistent with our view that the pandemic will have a much greater impact on transaction volumes than on price.

How will residential property be affected by the new normal?
South Africa - Propertywheel
The South African Reserve Bank cut the repo rate to a record low of 3.75% since the beginning of this year, with the hope that this will help alleviate the anticipated sharp contraction in South Africa’s economic activity.

With welcomed relief for financially stressed consumers as we start the slow easing of hard lockdown restrictions, will this be enough to kick start our economy? And, how will the residential rental property look following Covid-19’s aftermath?

Ben Shaw, CEO of residential property disruptor HouseME, says that a global recession is inevitable post-Covid-19: “We’re not sure whether the shock will prove to be systemic or not. Stimulus packages may assist economies in the short-term, but the slowdown – particularly in emerging markets – is too widespread to be contained to just a few months“.

Despite this, Shaw believes that South Africa’s real estate fundamentals remain strong, as there’s much appeal for physical assets that cater to the needs – not wants – of a growing population in these uncertain times: “Property is a far more resilient asset class than other industries and provides the opportunity to unlock value for foreign direct investment when investor confidence returns. Buying or renting South African property in GBP or USD right now offers once-in-a-lifetime opportunities,” he says.

The role conveyancers will have to play after lockdown
UK - Property Reporter As the UK prepares for the re-opening of the economy, many conveyancers are starting to wonder what the future looks like after lockdown.

Although no one can be certain what lies ahead for the property market as a whole, there is no doubt that there will be changes that have a lasting effect. These changes will affect buyers, sellers, conveyancing firms, estate agents, surveyors, and every other person within the property market.

In order to stay ahead, it is important to be prepared for a post-lockdown world, whatever it may bring. This means being guided by the Government in terms of all regulations and requirements and staying abreast of trends in buying and selling, especially when it comes to assisting clients through these uncertain times. Buyers and sellers turn to conveyancers in the expectation that they are able to answer the many questions they may have on how lockdown and its after-effects will impact property transactions. When guidelines are followed, the sales and purchase process can be done in a way that guides current and future transactions.
Property Reporter

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