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20 August 2015

Cape Town is still SA's top property location
The South African residential property market has seen better days as the rand weakens against the dollar, global economies struggle and the repo rate enters a hiking cycle.

However, according to Bruce Swain, MD of Leapfrog Property Group, it would seem that the Cape Town property market is the exception to the rule, as agents continue to cite stock shortages and buyers and sellers alike remain confident in the long-term value of homes in the Mother City.

“Unlike other parts of the country, our agents in the Western Cape, and specifically in Cape Town and surrounds, have continually reported stock shortages, especially in the R1.5 million to R3 million market segment,” says Swain.
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Reports on the potential of BIM in the built environment
In a bid to support professionals in the built environment sector, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has released three new research reports focused on Building Information Modelling (BIM).

BIM has largely become a symbol in some quarters of how technology is changing and the profound impact this will have on how the sector develops into the future.

This is according to TC Chetty, RICS Country Manager for South Africa, who says the new research papers aim to share insights and experiences from various stages of the real estate life-cycle, and examine various aspects of how and where BIM technologies are employed to improve project coordination.

“BIM was originally developed by the architecture, engineering and construction sectors, but as these research papers illustrate, it also has its uses in other areas and sectors where it can influence project costs and facilitate better information flow.”
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Home loan approvals beat the winter chill
The number of home loans being approved by banks is currently growing at a faster rate than at the beginning of the year, despite the fact that the winter months are usually the slow season for home sales and bond applications.

“This may change in the wake of the interest rate increase at the end of July, but our statistics show that the year-on-year increase in the number of loans being approved has risen from a steady 1% in the first few months of 2015 to 2% in the past two months,” says Shaun Rademeyer, CEO of national mortgage originator, BetterLife Home Loans.

The faster rate of growth follows continued increases in the number of home loan applications being submitted by prospective home buyers, and continued decreases in the number of applications being declined by the banks, he says.
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Cape Town Homemakers Expo 27-30 August
The Cape Homemakers Expo will be celebrating 20 years of home improvement, décor and design at the CTICC in Cape Town from 27 to 30 August.

From modern bathroom fittings to the latest in kitchen design and appliances, beautiful new furnishings to the best in DIY, you'll find it all under one roof.

Incorporating a spectrum of South Africa's leading brands and industry professionals, exhibits range from essential home improvement products to dazzling décor accessories.

Exciting feature areas will once again include the Kitchen Specialist Association, inVOGUE, d'VINE life, ARTISANaffair, Design Project 2015, alfresco living, home kitchen and DIY workshops, as well as the Barista Showdown.
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To fix or not to fix your home loan interest rate?
With interest rates seemingly on an upward cycle, the issue of fixing home loans in the market becomes a hot topic. However, fixing interest rates on your home loan requires a carefully laid out strategy and not a knee-jerk reaction to interest rate increases.

“The market interest rates are as dynamic as the share market, meaning that market interest rates rise and fall continuously as new information becomes available to market participants,” says Tommy Nel, Head of Credit at FNB Home Loans.

The rate at which a bank will fix also depends on the period of time the customer chooses, up to a maximum of five years. There is a premium for raising funds for the longer periods of time, for example a fixed rate over 60 months will be higher than a fixed rate offered for 12 months.
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Buying distressed or repossessed property need-to-knows
Having a property repossessed is any homeowner’s worst nightmare, but for buyers, distressed estates can be a great way to find a well-priced property.

Banks typically sell insolvent properties for less than open market value in order to cover their costs as quickly as possible according to Tony Clarke, Managing Director for the Rawson Property Group, who says this presents some great opportunities for savvy investors looking to snap up a good deal.

When approaching the distressed property market, it’s important to understand the three basic types of sales that take place, he says.

“There are bank-mandated sales, Sales in Execution, and Properties in Possession, and they all have different processes that can affect their price and potential value.”
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What is 'special business' in an AGM?
Many sectional title schemes will now be holding their AGMs, and most will run with the minimum of fuss or problems, but sometimes there is confusion regarding certain aspects of “business” discussed at these meetings and the procedural processes that should be followed according to Michael Bauer, general manager of the property management company IHFM, who says the AGM notice sent out allows for special business, but this term is often misunderstood.

“Special business” is not any additional business that needs to be added to the agenda, such as allocation of parking bays or allocation of gate remote controls and security issues, he says.

Some issues are sometimes added that might actually require a special or unanimous resolution, for example the addition to a section.
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