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28 May 2015

SAPOA raises R40m for bursary fund
Amelia Beattie, Head of STANLIB Direct Property Investments (SDPI), has handed over the presidency of the South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA) after a successful year, culminating in the raising of R40 million for the SAPOA bursary fund. This injection into the fund will allow 100 students to complete a four-year BSc degree.

The money was raised through a contribution by the Services SETA (SSETA) after negotiations with SAPOA in the past seven weeks.

This is according to Beattie, who says they are thrilled that they managed to exceed their original target of raising enough funding to educate 50 students.

She says education has always been important to SAPOA, but during her reign she wanted to take it up a notch so they can truly upskill people. This will lead to improved performance of companies with property portfolios, resulting in increased GDP and job creation, she says.
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SA property less affordable for first-time buyers
Getting a foot on the residential property ladder has never been easy, and according to the latest ABSA Housing Review for the second quarter of 2015, it’s only likely to get harder over the course of the year.

While potential buyers may be lulled into a false sense of security by the slowing growth of property prices, increasing mortgage interest rates are likely to have a big effect on affordability for the average first-time buyer.

This is according to Mike van Alphen, National Manager for Rawson Finance, who says property affordability is reflected by the ratios of house prices and mortgage repayments to household disposable income.

He says when house prices and mortgage repayments increase faster than disposable income, buying or paying off a property becomes much less affordable.
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Interest rate decision a welcome breather
While no surprise in view of the better than expected April inflation rate of 4.5% (against a predicted 4.7%), the decision by the Reserve Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee is nonetheless great news, especially for first-time home buyers.

That is the word from Samuel Seeff, chairman of the Seeff property group, who says keeping the interest rate at what remains a five-decade historic low of 5.75% (base home loan rate of 9.25%) has been an important driver of the growth in the housing market.

There can be little doubt that first-time home buying has improved over the last two years with this demographic now accounting for about a quarter of all home buying nationally, he says. The oil-price bonus and resultant lower inflation outlook early this year provided an added boost for this sector as has the raising of the transfer duty exemption level by government to R750 000.
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SA's listed property sector failing to transform
There is little commitment to real transformation from the executive leadership of South Africa’s listed property sector and it’s time for a change in mindset, or for new leaders that will make transformation a priority.

That’s the view of Marius Muller, CEO of Pareto Limited, who is one of the few outspoken property industry leaders on the slow pace of transformation in the listed property sector.

“It’s time for us to be frank about the situation. The fact is that BEE executive directors make up just 15.7% of the leadership of the listed property sector. This is a clear indication of the slow pace of transformation at executive management level in the burgeoning listed property sector,” he says.

Muller cites the latest results of a study by MSCI subsidiary, IPD South Africa, which analyses the composition of the leadership of South Africa’s listed property sector. Of the 89 executive managers at JSE-listed property companies, 75 executives or 84.3% are white. Black executives make up just 14 positions, with only one of these being female. The study excluded dual listed and internationally domiciled companies.
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Landlords can get fined for tenants' behaviour
Sectional title units tend to be favoured by buy-to-let investors, and it often happens that there is a high percentage of tenanted units in developments because of this according to Mandi Hanekom, operations manager for the sectional title finance company Propell, who says it is important that the landlords in sectional title schemes know that they are responsible for the behaviour of their tenants.

Serious problems can be created by tenants who behave in a way that is unacceptable to the other occupants, and the trustees of the scheme are entitled to impose fines for misdemeanours, says Hanekom.

Fines charged can sometimes be R1 000 or more per offence, she says.
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Home clearance certificates: need-to-know
Electrical supply, electric fencing and gas clearance certificates are all legal requirements pertaining to homeownership, and are governed by national acts. It is only water clearance that is governed by the regional or city laws according to Lanice Steward, managing director of Knight Frank Residential SA, who says it is interesting that there is no law that requires a seller to have a beetle clearance certificate, but it has become standard practice for buyers and financial institutions to ask for one.

While the law requires that sellers of properties have valid clearance certificates for their home, it is only the conveyancing attorney who actually has to have physical sight of these, and he will hold these while the transfer process is going through.
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All debt is equal, right? Think again...
All debt is the same right? Not exactly according to Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, who says very often consumers seem to put all debt in the same category, however, while all debt is debt, it is not all equal.

“Identifying the difference between bad debt and what could be considered as potentially good debt will assist consumers to make more informed and better financial decisions moving forward,” says Goslett.

Before the global property market downturn, many homeowners would turn to their home equity as a credit source when they required large sums of money.
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