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28 June 2018

How to stop urban decay in our cities and neighbourhoods
Cities can be dynamic, exciting hubs – or they can be crime-ridden danger zones visited under duress or because of duty. Ryan Mathew of Cushman Wakefield Excellerate explains how precinct management can stop the urban slide.

I’ve always been fascinated by urban spaces and how they’re managed; probably because a well-managed space can have a profound effect on the people who use it.

As our cities grow and evolve, this becomes more apparent than ever. Most modern cities came into being at the end of the 1800s, when life was very different – which is why many cities aren’t well equipped to accommodate the way we live today. Moreover, while the Industrial Revolution naturally had an enormous impact on urbanisation, the number of people currently living in cities is unprecedented. In fact, we’ve seen a massive increase in the past nine years: in 2009, only 50% of the world’s population lived in cities. Today, that figure stands at closer to 60%.
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Mass urbanisation: Africa’s burgeoning big cities
Africa’s burgeoning big cities will play an increasingly central role in the continent’s growth and development, driven largely by Africa’s rapid urbanisation. However, the development of smaller, secondary cities is also important and presents nascent opportunities.

These were some of the key messages to come out of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ (RICS) Summit Africa 2018, which took place recently (30-31 May) in Sandton Central, Johannesburg. The fourth annual edition of RICS’ Summit Africa attracted over 220 local and international built environment professionals, as well as government and business leaders, academics and media.
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What are first-time buyers paying for a home in SA?
The average size of a bond granted in South Africa has grown 7.7% in the past 12 months to R934 000, according to BetterBond, local bond originator.

CEO Rudi Botha says the company’s latest statistics, which represent 25% of all residential bonds being registered in the Deeds Office, also show that there has been an 11% increase in the total value of bonds approved during the 12 months to end-May.

“In addition, there has been a 7.3% increase in the total value of bonds formally granted, while the average percentage of purchase price being paid as a deposit has dropped during this period from 21% to 19.5%,” he says.
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South Africans can get a home loan to buy property in the UK
Contrary to common belief, South Africans who don’t have residency in the UK or a British passport can buy property there and get a mortgage.

Mortgage advisor for Sable International, Ian Henning, says there are a number of lenders who offer credit to South Africans, even if they have a complex income structure where they are using family trusts or are self-employed and rely on putting expenses through the business to keep their taxable income quite low.

“There are challenges, such as the fact that they’re not living in the UK already, which means that their choice of lenders becomes restricted. As a non-resident, you can’t look at using lenders based inside the UK, because only UK lenders who are offering buy-to-let mortgages tend to want you to be a resident in the UK and have a UK taxable income,” says Henning.
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Is apartment living for you? The pros and cons
There are people who love living in apartments, and then there are those who hate the idea. It is a matter of personal choice, but if we take the emotion out of the issue and look at both sides of the issue, what do we get?

Debbie Mathieson of Seeff Umhlanga gives a roundup of the pros and cons of apartment living.
Positive aspects of apartment living include the following:
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Eight maintenance musts to guard your property's value
When it comes to protecting the value of your property and the comfort of your home, regular home maintenance is key.

“From the moment that you take ownership of your new home and signed off on the confirmation of satisfaction with the developer, home maintenance and repairs become your responsibility and are not the responsibility of the developer, the bond/mortgage provider or the insurer anymore,” explains Mbuso Mhlanga, Marketing Executive at Cosmopolitan Projects.

In the same way that you need to service your car regularly to keep it in good running order, your house needs the same care and attention. All property is subject to what is known as ‘wear and tear’. This is the gradual deterioration of items caused by normal usage, aging, exposure to weather, insects, and so on. Fixing small maintenance problems at the first sight of deterioration will prevent a small problem from becoming a larger and much costlier one to fix in future.
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