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30 July 2015

Responsible business practices in real estate sector
The United Nations Global Compact and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has issued a call to organisations in the land, construction and real estate sector and those working with them, to take a leading role in global efforts to drive responsible and sustainable business practices according to Georg Kell, executive director of the UN Global Compact, who says launched in New York, ‘Advancing Responsible Business Practices in Land, Construction, Real Estate Use and Investment’ examines the sector’s impact in relation to the UN Global Compact’s four focus areas of human rights, labour standards, the environment and anti-corruption.

The resource identifies some of the most critical issues facing the sector, and breaks down the three key real estate life cycle phases; development, use and recovery, and proposes the corresponding actions to embed responsible business practices, illustrated by good practice case studies from around the world.
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SA property market is holding steady
Consumers continue to demonstrate confidence in the residential property market, despite mounting affordability constraints according to Shaun Rademeyer, CEO of national mortgage originator, BetterLife Home Loans, who says latest statistics show that the number of home loan applications being submitted by prospective home buyers has increased by 4% in the past 12 months, in line with the continued increase in housing demand.

In addition, he says there has been a sharp decline in the number of applications being declined by the banks, with the net result being an increase of almost 2% in the number of home loans approved in the 12 months to end-June.
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What the rate rise means to homeowners and buyers
The interest rate rise announced yesterday by Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago will translate, for existing homeowners, into an increase of some R127 per month on a 20-year home loan of R785 000.

This is the current national average approved bond amount, according to SA mortgage origination group BetterLife Home Loans. The difference for first-time buyers will be R98 per month on the average home loan of R600 000 that is currently being approved in this sector of the market, says BetterLife Home Loans CEO Shaun Rademeyer.

The increase of 25 basis points is the first since July 2014 and takes the repo rate to 6% and the variable home loan interest rate to 9,5%. It will push up the minimum monthly instalments on home loans by R16 for every R100 000 borrowed.
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Pros and cons of buying a property for cash
Even if you have enough cash in the bank to be able to buy your next home outright, it might be quite a risky move to do so according to Shaun Rademeyer, CEO of BetterLife Home Loans, national mortgage originator, who says you need to carefully weigh up the pros and cons of doing this.

“Often home buyers find that applying for a home loan is a better course to follow, especially if they enlist the help of a professional mortgage originator to simplify and speed up the application process,” he says.

Rademeyer lists these pros and cons of buying a property cash:
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Enclosing patios in a sectional title scheme
There is constant discussion and debate on the issue of the enclosure of patios or balconies in sectional title schemes, pertaining as to whether they become part of the section of the owner, in which case his participation quota will be higher, or whether it remains part of the common property, but for the owner’s exclusive use.

This is according to Michael Bauer, general manager of the property management company, IHFM, who says if the habitable space in the unit increases, it becomes a larger section, which means section 24 of the Sectional Titles Act applies, resulting in the PQ factor being higher and thus the levy will also be higher.

The question arises as to whether this is habitable space, is situated in an enclosed exclusive use area, common property or already part of the section, he says.
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Gas insurance and installation must-knows
The ongoing reality of load shedding has seen many of us turning to gas cooking and heating to keep warm this winter according to Bertus Visser, Chief Executive of Distribution, PSG Insure, who says the consequences of a gas accident can, however, be dire, so it is best to be careful and adequately insured in case something should go wrong.

Make sure you follow safety regulations
Visser says gas installations, including gas hot water systems, stoves and ovens, require certification. The Occupational Health and Safety Act states that homeowners using gas in these ways have to have a Certificate of Conformity.
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