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Property 24/10 - 71

4 August 2011

SSETA/EAAB changes bode positively
Sandy Walsh, the outgoing head of training at the Western Cape Institute of Estate Agents said that the many changes and restructurings which have taken place within the Estate Agency Affairs Board and the Services of SETA (which were outlined at the “successful” EAAB Stakeholders Awareness Seminar on 8thJuly and the 21stJuly “Taking skills beyond 2010” seminar) have charted a positive and optimistic course ahead for SA residential property.

At the SSETA seminar, Dr Sihle Moon, the acting CEO of SSETA, promised that within the next two to three months SSETA will have delivered on all existing projects, and that all estate agents who have passed their NQF4 and NQF5 examinations will have received their certificates, said Walsh.

The goal set by representatives from the SSETA Business and Labour departments is to find employment and have an achievable strategic plan, said Moon.

These goals where:

- Research done to ascertain what “baseline” skills are needed in today’s market;
- The setting up of a measurement tool to measure the impact of skilled employees;
- Getting higher education and training colleges to work with the official training regulations;
- Campaigning for support and cooperation from SMEs and businesses in general; and
- Extending training to the rural areas.

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Property investors not rushing to buy
South African housing investors are looking around at the market, but are still not rushing to put their money down and invest.

Rael Levitt, CEO of Auction Alliance said in December, they predicted that local house prices would still drop but things have remained fairly consistent over the last 12 months. For now, it's a buyer's market.

Levitt noted that in an inflationary environment, South African real estate had historically proven to be an inflation hedge. That is why the market was still seeing strong demand for commercial property.
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Landlord renovates to sell, my rights?
A Property24 reader asks:
I am currently renting a property directly from the owner. We originally signed a one year contract that expires on 1 March 2012. 

The owner has recently started doing renovations to the house and told me that he is planning to sell the house. As far as I know the rental contract is binding and will take preference when the house is sold. The problem is they are making our lives a living hell - someone has to constantly be at home to allow the maintenance team in to work. 

What I want to know is if I find another property to rent before the contract expires will I be in breach of contract? 

Marlon Shevelew, specialist rental and eviction attorney at Cape-based legal firm Marlon Shevelew and Associates replies:
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Young buyers flock to Bloemfontein
Property buyers and particularly young and first time buyers are reportedly finding the city of roses an ideal location to call home.

Bloemfontein also known as fountain of flowers in Dutch is the capital city of the Free State province. The city is also the judicial capital of the country which houses The Supreme Court of Appeal.

The city’s Sesotho name Mangaung which means place of cheetahs was included in the Mangaung Local Municipality in 2000. The Free State province also hosted some of the 2010 FIFA World Cup matches at the Free State Stadium.

For property investors and buyers, Bloemfontein presents endless opportunities with a variety of stock to choose from, according to estate agents.
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Can I get out of my lease early?
A Property24 reader asks:
I am a tenant and I have signed a fixed period lease agreement with the landlord. I can no longer afford to stay at the premises. I have once forwarded my lease cancellation notice and the landlord representative informed me that, since I have signed a fixed term lease agreement with the landlord, I cannot make any lease terminations, prior to expiration of the lease. As per information from her, I am liable for rent until the lease expiration.

Please advise if I honestly don’t have a way of terminating the lease agreement? I am in a bad financial situation and I am afraid the situation is getting worse. Your assistance will be much appreciated. 

Marlon Shevelew, specialist rental and eviction attorney at Cape-based legal firm Marlon Shevelew and Associates replies:
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Eastern Cape property market improving
Increased demand from eco-tourists and first-time buyers is elevating the Eastern Cape as a key area in the property market recovery, with Port Elizabeth in the throes of a buyers' market, according to Willie van Niekerk, Jawitz Properties' franchise principal for Port Elizabeth, Uitenhage and Jefferies Bay.

The length of time the average house remains on the market has improved. Today sellers are waiting between three to six months before transactions take place.

Game lodges report that gaming viewing and hunting are popular pastimes. Demand for accommodation at these facilities has increased significantly over the years and these wildlife enthusiasts are now buying holiday homes near the resorts.

In addition, global and local contract personnel, working on projects such as the multibillion-rand Coega deepwater port of Ngqhurha and the Nelson Mandela Bay Logistics Park, will also play a role in increasing demand for accommodation, as will other infrastructure initiatives such as the construction of wind farms and power plants.
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SA property buyers love prime London
South African property investors looking to diversify their portfolios and earn money offshore are buying luxury apartments in London.

Property experts report a huge demand for properties in London where rental income is attracting savvy investors.

Property experts report a huge demand for properties in London where rental income is attracting savvy investors.  

In London, buyers look for existing properties as they are seeing better returns than from new developments, said Scott Picken, chief executive officer of International Property Solutions.

However, said Picken, accessing finance in the UK is difficult at the moment especially for non-residents and some buyers battle as they are still only getting between 50 and 60 percent Loan-to-Value (LTV).

“As a result, it is a lot safer for many investors to buy an existing property and make the purchase subject to finance,” said Picken.

He said in the past three years, South African investors have bought property in the UK and particularly in London.
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