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Property 24/10 - 192

13 February 2014

Infrastructure development in SA
There is an old adage that says “justice delayed is justice denied”. Can the same be said of infrastructure development; is infrastructure delayed infrastructure denied?

The South African government has identified infrastructure development as a priority to realise the growth South Africa so desperately needs and to create jobs.

This is according to Patrick Forbes a Professional Assistant in the Litigation Department at Garlicke & Bousfield Inc, who says part of this growth strategy is the Infrastructure Development Bill. One of the Bill’s objectives is the identification and implementation of strategic integrated projects (SIP).

He says these are projects of significant economic or social importance to South Africa and the Bill, in essence, seeks to facilitate a process in which projects that have been identified as a SIP are then fast tracked to completion through a number of measures which include the appointment of Ministers to chair the relevant projects, the appointment of steering committees with the relevant expertise, technical support and the alignment and dedication of capabilities and resources.
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SA black homeownership escalates
Major investments into the affordable housing sector, coupled with the rapid growth of the black middle class and the continued historic rise in black homeownership, is set to see unprecedented levels of African families owning homes in 2014.

Last year was the first year in which white buyers made up less than 50 percent of home buyers in South Africa, and this figure is expected to rise substantially this year, as more moderately priced housing stock comes onto the market.

International Housing Solutions (IHS), the global private equity investor leading investment into the affordable housing sector in sub-Saharan Africa, recently launched a new multi-million dollar fund on the back of the success of its first fund, to invest in the development of homes for the emerging middle class. IHS’s second fund plans to surpass the number of units - 28 000 - funded via its first fund.
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People handling skills make or break
Many of the systems and methods employed in the marketing of residential property have changed out of all recognition, with the use of computers and the internet revolutionising the industry considerably.

Nevertheless, the big factor which makes or breaks an estate agent is his people handling skills - and these remain as crucially important as ever, says Bill Rawson, Chairman of the Rawson Property Group.

Rawson says estate agents have to be honest, friendly, knowledgeable on property matters (especially those relating to their area), tireless, persevering and always willing to learn. However, he says, all these qualities have to be founded on a base of compassion and sensitivity.
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Valuable lessons from NAR convention
The 14 Rawson Property Group delegates who attended the National Association of Realtors Congress in San Francisco last year (the total number of delegates present was 20 000) have without exception reported that the benefits of being at this five-day function are profound and are likely to be long-lasting.

All have said they believe they acquired new expertise and insight into property business and property marketing which will give them greater proficiency in their working lives in the year ahead.

Bill Rawson, Chairman of the Rawson Property Group, says this happens every year and it more than justifies the high cost of travel to the USA and attendance at this world renowned congress.

David Hitch, franchisee for the Rawson Property Group’s Kloof residential and commercial franchises, says as a result of his attending the NAR Convention he has been able to draw up a new business plan.
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Buying a home to renovate? Read this
With the slight upturn in the economy, agents are once again finding that home buyers are buying to renovate, and there seem to be more people renovating their existing homes.

This is according to Lanice Steward, managing director of Knight Frank Residential SA, who says the question to ask, however, when looking at the updated local Cape Town building (2011) and zoning regulations (2013), is what are the implications of buying to renovate?

She says in some cases, buyers are demolishing the existing home on the property to build two units, which is now allowed, but the effects of doing this need to be checked thoroughly before embarking on a project like this.

“One of the implications is the changing of the character of an area. This is evident in the area around Cavendish Square, for instance, where more and more properties now have duplexes and semi-detached homes being built on them, replacing the single family residences that were there. This has impacted on the character of the area, and it now is a mix of old and new.”
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A realistic look into investments
Given a shaky investment environment, Marriott, the income specialists suggests that investors focus on managing risk and preserving capital.

We often go into denial in the face of bad news as this can protect us from very stressful situations such as the loss of a loved one. But unchecked, it can cause us to ignore critical change in our world and its impact on us, according to the managers.

Denial is often the case when dealing with our finances and this probably relates to the stress of our savings and the continual worry whether we have saved enough for the future.

We mistakenly presume that good returns we may have enjoyed will continue and we miss signals indicating that we need to make changes, explain the managers.
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SACSC Research Conference in Sandton
The South African Council of Shopping Centres (SACSC) will host its fourth annual Research Conference, sponsored by Broll Property Group, for retail real estate professionals and retailers seeking to keep ahead with the latest retail trends.

Retail is always evolving as consumers shift the goalposts with their latest demands and new trends and research is important to grow and improve the industry, explains SACSC chief executive officer, Amanda Stops.

“Our research conference is a sought-after event that furthers our goals of sharing the latest insight and tactics with those keen to dominate the competition and move up in the retail ranks,” says Stops.

She says this conference is an incredible opportunity for players in the retail and shopping mall game.
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