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1 November 2018

Are prepaid systems the key to sustainable water management?
Unless there is a drastic overhaul in water planning and conservation in South Africa, demand for this critical, but scarce, resource will surpass supply by 2020.

According to the WWF, 98% of the country’s water has already been allocated to users, leaving little surplus water to cater for a growing population and increasing demand.

“One way to achieve sustainable water management is to understand and manage consumption by utilities and end-users. But, as it stands, we don’t have accurate data, since we lose 37% of our water in the current urban infrastructure, and consumers pay for consumption based on estimates and averages,” says Shannon Vermaak, Utility Systems Marketing Manager.
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Housing challenges and solutions for Africa's fast-growing cities
Africa will have some of the fastest-growing cities in the world over the next 50 years. With this rapid expansion comes many challenges, including urban planning that encompasses affordable housing solutions for the growing number of urban dwellers, as well as provisions for sufficient clean water, electricity and sanitation.

Recently, Habitat for Humanity hosted a leadership conference in South Africa, focused on discussing housing challenges on the continent and how to overcome them. Respected speakers from around the world took to the podium to discuss issues affecting Sub-Saharan Africa, and exchanged ideas on how housing solutions can be funded.
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Property industry’s reaction to Mboweni’s mini budget speech
Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni’s maiden Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) highlighted the difficult economic and global environment South Africa is currently facing.

Economic growth predictions for this year have been halved from 1.5% to 0.7%, tax collections are down, unemployment is dire and government debt is now expected to rise to 55.8% of GDP by the end of this year.

Dr Andrew Golding, chief executive of the Pam Golding Property group, says it was “straight-talking as expected” and the minister’s medium term budget speech sought to inspire investor and market confidence in South Africa by reinforcing the five measures recently highlighted by the President in order to stimulate the economy.

"It is time for action," says Richard Gray, CEO of Harcourts Africa, and we need to see the results of policies and implementation plans otherwise economic stagnation will continue to remain a major concern. “Of course, a concern remains that Treasury’s low growth means debt service costs will rise to 18% of all government spending in 2026 – which translates into almost R1 out of every five going towards paying off loans.”
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Buying a home? Home loan interest rates 101
Buying a house is one of the biggest decisions in life and, albeit an exciting one, it is not to be taken lightly, especially when it concerns home loans, lending rates and repayments.

Gerrit Disbergen, Director of Engel & Völkers Financial Services, gives the lowdown of everything you need to know about interest rates:

Personal interest rate
A personal interest rate is as unique as a home and the individual who buys it. It is determined using a number of criteria and is based on the client’s risk profile. Interest rate is one of the key costs to consider when comparing home loans.

Prime lending rate, prime minus and prime plus
The prime lending rate is currently 10%, and is effectively the starting point that banks use to calculate interest rates for clients. It covers the bank’s basic profit margin, which is then set higher or lower based on the applicant’s risk profile. A riskier individual would get an above-prime loan, which would be at prime plus, for example, prime plus 1% making it a lending rate of 11%. A low-risk client could get prime or lower, for example prime minus 1%, which means a lending rate of 9%.
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Sellers, guard against the dreaded ‘double commission’
Home sellers need to take special care now not to expose themselves to the possibility of having to pay a ‘double commission’ when their properties are sold.

This warning comes from Gerhard Kotzé, MD of the RealNet estate agency group, who says double commission claims most usually arise when sellers award open mandates, or just allow multiple agents to market their property without a formal mandate, in a misguided effort to broaden its exposure to prospective buyers.

“In such cases, it is easy for a buyer to be introduced to the property by one agent, but to actually conclude a purchase through another - and for confusion and disagreements to arise about which agent was actually the ‘effective cause’ of the sale and entitled to claim the sales commission,” says Kotzé.
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