New Property24 App for Windows devices
With the clear understanding that mobile technology is where the future of eCommerce lies, Property24 has proven its dedication to innovation and to remaining a leader in the industry through the development of breakthrough mobile property search apps for all leading devices.
After the iPhone and iPad App raced to the top of the Lifestyle Category in the iTunes Store earlier this year, and was recognised at the MTN Business App of the Year Awards 2014, Property24 wasted no time in refocusing attention on new opportunities. This next opportunity came when Microsoft took note of the benefits the Property24 mobile app offered on-the-go property buyers, and approached Property24 to develop an app tailored for Windows devices.
Clifford de Wit, Developer Experience Lead at Microsoft South Africa says, “Microsoft South Africa is proud to be working with Property24, one of the largest property search portals in South Africa. We strive to ensure that our customers have locally relevant apps that help them in their everyday lives, and by bringing the Property24 apps to the Windows platform, we will be doing just that.”
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1st 4 Star green small office space
Horizon Capital’s latest development, Ibis House, has just become the first certified 4 Star Green Star office space for small to medium tenants in South Africa.
This Premium-grade building of 1 400 square metres is situated in The Estuaries precinct in Century City. Horizon Capital’s CEO, John Witter, believes that by becoming the smallest green-rated commercial office building in South Africa, it proves that going green is not impossible for smaller developments. He says it also offers relatively smaller tenants the opportunity to become part of the ‘green movement’.
Green building initiatives at Ibis House focus on energy and water efficiency, as well as improving the working environment for occupants. The development’s green consultant, Terramanzi, expects an electricity saving of 36 percent, or approximately R150 000 per annum or R10 per square metre, when compared to a regular building of a similar size.
Doors open for youth in construction
For years Tumelo Alton thought construction was only about pushing bricks in wheelbarrows but the National Human Settlements Youth Brigade Programme has opened his eyes to other career possibilities in the sector.
Alton, from ward 11 in Walkerville, is among 100 young South Africans participating in the programme, which was officially launched on Tuesday at Savanna City in Walkerville.
The programme will see 100 houses being built by youth, who will receive training from a company contracted for the project. The programme aims to build a group of young people, who will have the requisite skills set to participate in the construction sector.
Foreign buyers and land ownership
Foreign buyers of prime residential property have made a welcome return to the South African market. Lured by attractive homes at equally attractive prices, relative political stability, wonderful climate and a currency which is very much in their favour, these buyers hail from across the globe. Europeans are prominent, but buyers from African countries – East, Central and West - are growing in numbers.
Recently this market, which had dwindled during the world recession, has revived. Over the past 12 months or so the purchase value of South African property bought by foreigners totalled R9.7 billion. Of these, 53 percent were cash sales and 47 percent bonded (foreigners may borrow up to a maximum of 50 percent). Of 280 395 registrations between 2013 and 2014, tracked by property analysts Lightstone, 8 530 were to foreign buyers.
This is an important number in terms of this country’s need of foreign direct investment and this inflow is often shrugged off by detractors of foreign property ownership. Yet the government report in 2007 by the Panel of Experts on the Development of Policy regarding Land Ownership by Foreigners in South Africa, noted that the UK has no restrictions on foreign ownership, commenting that such ownership “is in fact encouraged in order to attract direct foreign investment.”
Troublesome tenant eviction process
Anyone familiar with the South African property scene will from time-to-time have come across those heart-wrenching situations where whole families are forced by the sheriff of the court to move out of a home with all of their belonging, which in some cases are literally dumped on a nearby street pavement.
Bill Rawson, Chairman of the Rawson Property Group, says while such evicted tenants have to be pitied, they have in most cases ended up in this predicament after ignoring repeated requests for rent payments, first from the landlord and later from the court. They have also probably in many cases failed to respond to a court summons.
They may have had six months or longer free occupation of the home during which time the landlord might have had to pay the monthly bond repayments on the property without any help from the rental income on which he had relied.
Running a business from home - legally
With the increasing number of people working from home, preferring to be freelancers or contract workers, and more entrepreneurs starting up their own businesses, the need to set up a home office is one that is just as normal as having a study or lounge in the home.
Thanks to technology and forward thinking companies allowing workers to work from their choice of premises, whether at home or wherever their laptop is, home offices have become quite common. This cuts down on the wasted time commuting and cuts the resources and energy consumed within the company’s premises as they tend to keep just the key staff in the office. There are even situations where people can work from another country, and it is no longer seen as imperative that they be in the same office as the rest of the employees.
This is according to Lanice Steward, managing director of Knight Frank Residential SA, who says however, the legal implications of doing so must be considered if it is not just one person using the space.