27 May 2011
Realestateweb - SA RMBS performance remains stable In March 2011 - Moody`s - Investment insights - South Africa's fastest-growing property website
London, 24 May 2011 -- The performance of the South African residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) market remained stable during the six-month period leading to March 2011, according to the latest indices published by Moody's Investors Service.
25 May 2011
The first quarter of 2011 saw a 25% increase in volume of transactions concluded for rentals in the Cape Town Metropolitan Area, with demand for lower-to-mid priced (R5,000 - R10,000) rentals outstripping supply.
Constantia Sectional Title Management (CSTM) is hours away from having its fidelity fund certificate (FFC) withdrawn by the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB). On Tuesday the EAAB will in an urgent application to the South Gauteng High Court seek to withdraw CSTM’s FFC and have a curator officially appointed to administer its trust account.
By 2025, the dollar will no longer be the world's dominant reserve currency; instead, global finance will be based on a multipolar system in which the dollar shares the role of top currency dog with the euro and the renminbi.
This is one of the predictions of the World Bank's latest report, Global Development Horizons 2011-Multipolarity: The New Global Economy, which argues that the growing economic importance of emerging markets is reshaping the global system in fundamental and important ways.
24 May 2011
Banks declined fewer home loans in April 2011 compared to the same month in 2010, a bond originator said on Monday.
"The ability to obtain financing is one of the biggest drivers in the property market, so the consistent improvements are positive for the market," ooba CEO Saul Geffen said in a statement.
The bank initial decline ratio was 8.7 percent lower year-on-year, at 45.4 percent.
The bank effective approval ratio for home loans increased significantly from 57.3 percent in April last year to 64.4 percent, ooba found.
Geffen said the strong April approval rates followed record numbers in March, when the approval figure was the highest value of approved home loans since October 2008.
The average deposit size as a percentage of the purchase price decreased year-on-year by 39.6 percent to 13.1 percent, or R108,164.
At the same time, the average approved bond size increased by 3.7 percent to R715,319 in April 2011 from R689,742 in April 2010.
"The average deposit for April was only 13 percent of purchase price, which is significantly improved from the levels seen in 2009, and this opens up a considerably broader homebuyer base who can now afford the lower deposit requirements," said Geffen.
The oobarometer price index showed a year-on-year decline in the average purchase price of 6.5 percent to R823,483 in April 2011 from R881,044 a year earlier.
The average purchase price by a first time buyer fell by a more moderate 0.2 percent year-on-year to R625,252.
Geffen said the decline in house prices in April pointed to a further period of declining prices, after strong growth in the first half of 2010.
"We anticipate the negative growth trend will reverse shortly after mid-year and show moderate positive price growth for the second half of the year," he said. - Sapa
Sharemax investors are being offered the choice between receiving a monthly income for their investment in the company or being repaid part of the money that they have invested in a full and final settlement agreement.
About 40 000 investors have put more than R4,5-billion into the property syndication company. The Sharemax board has proposed that a scheme of arrangement and an offer of compromise is negotiated with investors.
In September last year Sharemax defaulted on monthly interest payment to investors and this led to the company being investigated and statutory managers being appointed to run the scheme which appeared to be operating in contravention of the Banks Act.
Spokesman for the company, Dawie Roodt confirmed that some of the companies in the Sharemax portfolio were "definitely bankrupt" and said that the amount owed to investors by some of the companies exceeded the value of assets owned by the company.
He did not say which of the companies was bankrupt.
He says that the R3,5-billion The Villa shopping centre, south east of Pretoria is one of the developments that is bankrupt and Roodt says that one of the advantages of liquidation of the bankrupt businesses is that certain investigations could be conducted and those at fault identified.
However, he adds that liquidation would not be in the interests of the investors.
He says the new board of Sharemax has been granted permission by the High Court to seek the approval of investors in Zambezi Retail Park and The Villa to outline details of an income plan scheme as part of a scheme of arrangement and offer of compromise. The dates for these meetings have not yet been finalised.
Roodt says that the reason for this is that the board is still considering alternatives that might provide a better solution for the investors but would not say what these alternatives are.
He says that the board wants to give existing investors the option of staying in the syndication and riding out the tough times or getting out of it now and "taking a haircut" – a reference to getting back less money than originally invested.
He says that investors in The Villa will not be repaid the full amount of their investment.
Has it ever struck you just how many people are property experts when you mention that you are thinking of buying or selling a property?
Paddy Hartdegen writes a regular column for Property24.com
These well-meaning advisers – with opinions that are certainly influenced more by hearsay than knowledge – will say that now is not the time to be involved in the property sector and, as a rule of thumb, they think they're right.
People with a little more knowledge, like estate agents, will say it's an excellent time to buy but, if you want to sell, make sure that you've priced your house correctly, particularly if it falls into the upper price brackets.
Do estate agents give you a true value? Never. They give you a 'gut-instinct' based value that is determined by what you want and what they think they can get. If the house is slow to move, then the price is too high. It's a pathetic basis for determining a true value.
Bankers (responsible for lending the money) often won't say a word – except among friends. And the sad fact of the matter is that bankers are the ones who dictate the state of the property market. If they lend money, sales boom. If they don't sales dwindle.
And that's where you'd be so wrong. Different banks have different criteria and they use different yardsticks to adjudicate value. Ask for a value from a banker and you'll get four very different ones.
This, naturally enough, makes it incredibly difficult for property owners and for estate agents who, for instance, put in an application for a bond (based on a fair purchase price) to all four of the banks and find that some banks come back and say there is "insufficient value" in the property to the grant the bond amount applied for.
The more expensive the home, the greater variation there is. And much of that valuation process appears to be purely subjective rather than scientific.
Question a bank about the details of why the value is so low and they will come up with all sorts of subjective reasons: "It's not the right property to be buying in this market" or "The property is over-priced for the area" or "The owners have over-capitalised and want too much money" or the "The asking price is simply too high for the home" or, mostly importantly "We won't grant a loan of that size against that property"..
Forget the fact that the buyer has a right to decide what amount he or she is prepared to pay for the property in question. Forget the fact that the bank won't pay a penny of the excessively exorbitant interest rates that are calculated over the next 20 or 25 years. That's the buyer's responsibility.
Just remember banks borrow money from the Reserve Bank at 5,5% and charge the money they've borrowed at prime of 9% so banks make 3,5% gratis before lending a bean. It's iniquitous.
If that's not bad enough then we have the other factor: banks can now stipulate what a house is worth by making a snap, subjective and often unfair value judgment.
I watched one of these valuers at work on the property that I currently rent. He had a measuring tape (on wheels to calculate the perimeter of the house) that he wheeled past the plants (not next to the house) to give him a rough idea of the outer boundary.
Then he walked through the house, taking no more than five minutes to survey the lot. Then he swaggered through to my office demanding that I drop what I'm doing and immediately let him out.
If he was here for five minutes then that was a lot.
I went outside with him and waited next to his run-down white jalopy while he searched for an address in a map book.
After I had spent more time looking at him than he had spent looking at my house, I tapped on his window and said, rather sharply, "Listen, bud, I'm busy so why don't you leave find directions somewhere else rather than just wasting my time."
He drove away mumbling – and I didn't give a fig.
His visit was typical of all those others I have experienced when valuators come to value a house. In the course of my lifetime I have bought and sold more than 20 properties and I have never had a different experience from a bank's valuation man.
So I was hardly surprised to read the comments from Ronald Ennik, an executive director of Leapfrog Property Group who says that banks are damaging the property market by continuing to value properties "too conservatively".
He's quite right. I would take it further than Ennik did: I would say that banks are killing the property market and they seem to be doing so with a smile on their corporate faces and it makes me sick.
Homebuyers' dreams are smashed by a cretin who spends less than ten minutes looking at a property. The same cretin who cannot even read directions in a map book.
And the bank he represents accepts his word as gospel – the final say on what a property is worth. It's bizarre.
Surely there must be a less subjective way of determining property values?
Professional land valuers (like my cousin) will tell you that there is a lot more that goes into compiling an accurate and realistic property value than just wandering around with a tape measure and a pair of reasonable eyes.
And it is these professionals that should be doing the valuations for banks and it is their figures that should be the basis for any bond regardless of which bank it is that's granting the money.
Property values must surely be based on measurable criteria and not on value judgments. Value judgments are not a valuation, they're a guess. And I wish that Standard, Absa, Nedbank and FNB would remember that.
And then stick to lending money based on the risk profile of the individual and not on whether they approve of the purchase he or she is making.
I also wish that Capitec and African Bank (and others) would step into the market and shake it up completely by adopting a more fair and reasonable approach.
Because as things go mortgage-lending banks are just a very motley bunch.
The demand for property in SA belies reports of a "soft" market from First National Bank (FNB) and Absa (ASA), according to Jawitz Properties.
Absa reported that house prices encountered relatively sharper declines on a year-on-year basis in April, while FNB said the April increase in house prices may not be sustainable in the short term.
Jawitz Properties CEO Herschel Jawitz said: "Demand is measured by show-day attendance, enquiries, buyer appointments and website activity, all of which are still showing better numbers than property price performance would suggest. It's not as if the phone is not ringing."
He added that the underlying activity in the market continued to be resilient, but converting this underlying activity and interest into offers and successful deals was the real challenge.
"When buyers do decide to put in offers, they usually reflect their perception of a buyer's market, and often much work still needs to be done to close the gap between buyer and seller," he said.
Jawitz listed bank lending as another challenge. Statistics such as debt-to-income ratios posed a problem in terms of the recovery of the market. The current measure was at 78%, down from about 84%, and economists were using this as a key measure for bank lending.
"Consumers are indebted, but with consumer spending in the doldrums and interest rates at historic lows, the likelihood of this measure coming down much further is slim."
He said it was likely that the debt-to-income ratio might rise when interest rates started to go up later this year, or in 2012. If banks tightened their lending further, a real recovery in property prices might occur only in 2013. - Moyagabo Maake, I-Net Bridge
23 May 2011
The offices of Constantia Sectional Title Management (CSTM) in Roodepoort, Johannesburg were again raided on Friday by the Estate Agency Affairs Board’s (EAAB) inspectors assisted by the police. Gareth Shepperson
20 May 2011
The South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA) Innovative Excellence in Property Development Awards 2011, sponsored by Nedbank Corporate Property Finance, has awarded five of the nine award-winning property developments to properties located in Sandton, proving it to be the centre of innovative property development and design in South Africa.
This article is from the Newsletter that I receive from eprop.co.za
In general the amount of new development has come down or at least remained quite steady and the ratio of unlet space has remained fairly flat as shown in the first graph below. Over the past five quarters the ratio has come down quite noticeably for Durban and has broadly been flat for Cape Town, Pretoria and Johannesburg . The prognosis is that most markets are in line to experience balanced supply evidenced by lower new supply and a tapering off of vacancy rates on existing stock. This bodes well for perfomance into the medium term.
As per the second graph, the ratio of new development to total market stock shows a slight increase for Cape Town and Joburg. The highest ratio remains PE now approaching 12 percent with Pretoria at under 6 percent albeit having come down from over 12 percent 18 months previously. It is important to note that the OVS tracks committed new developments as opposed to planned/speculative schemes; that being said completed office developments in Durban was quite buoyant in 2010 and yet the ratio shown here does not reflect this. As such careful research is required to assess whether supply is taking place in other Durban nodes and if any risks exist to the take-up outlook.
If properly managed, SA's developmental challenges could well become a blessing in disguise, offering focus to delivery agents and hope to millions of people. Let's each play our part, no matter how big or small.
19 May 2011
Realestateweb - Generation x leads property recovery - Property talk - South Africa's fastest-growing property website
A report by an American company, John Burns Real Estate Consulting, revealed that of the 10 000 buyers and potential buyers they surveyed in 27 metro areas throughout the US, between 85% and 89% said that they felt now was a good time to buy a home and most felt optimistic about a new home purchase.
17 May 2011
Realestateweb - Gloves off as Trafalgar takes on the city of Tshwane - Residential - South Africa's fastest-growing property website
Trafalgar Property Management is taking its six-year long battle with the Tshwane Metropolitan Council back to court after the council failed to comply with a court order against it. Attorney Dewald de Beer says his client will apply to have the matter placed on the unopposed court roll after the city failed to meet the 15-day deadline to file an opposing affidavit. This was after the council indicated it was going to oppose an application to have the Tshwane Metro declared in contempt of court.
The application was lodged after the city apparently failed to comply with a court order. The dispute first arose in 2005 when Trafalgar discovered that around 30 body corporates under its management in Pretoria were being billed for individual owner's arrear electricity accounts. These are the accounts for which body corporates are not legally liable for under South African law. Trafalgar says the discrepancy was immediately reported to the Metro which gave the assurance it would correct the accounts. However, this was in vain. "...No action was taken and month after month Trafalgar clients continued to be billed not just for the same arrear accounts, but for additional charges accrued including final demands, final cut offs and interest." A statement says the bodies corporate involved soon accrued debts running into hundreds of thousands of rands.
To add insult to injury, the council then began disconnecting services almost on a monthly basis. This was not done to single units deemed to be in arrears, but to entire blocks and sectional title complexes.
16 May 2011
We have experienced the exact same issues with CIPC. It also took us 45 minutes "on hold" to get through to the call centre who basically advised that we should be patient it is being attended to. Ou e-mails to CIPC have met with zero response and appear to be an utter waste of time.
According to Jones Lang LaSalle’s Global Foresight research paper on local real estate, factors that contribute to South Africa’s high transparency ranking include robust listed vehicle governance, strong auditing and reporting standards, a highly-developed legal system, the fairness and efficiency of the regulatory framework relating to real estate taxation, planning and building codes, enforceability of contracts and title, and a strong tradition of property rights.
11 May 2011
10 May 2011
Absa House Price Index: Jacques du Toit - sectoral analyst, Absa Retail Bank - SAfm Market update | Moneyweb
This is an extract of a radio interview on SAfm with Jacques du Toit a senior property analyst at ABSA Bank Home Loans.
The interview took place on release of the ABSA House Price Index for April.
Realestateweb - Why I sold Picvest - accounting boss - Investment insights - South Africa's fastest-growing property website
PKF accountant Cobus Kritzinger has supplemented his income by selling shares and debentures in property syndication company Picvest (formerly PIC Syndications).
Kritzinger is managing director of PKF's Bloemfontein branch and also a director of PKF South Africa.
09 May 2011
Barclays Africa headquarters was based in South Africa until 2006 when it was moved to the Gulf Arab emirate.
The latest move follows the recent decision by Barclays and its majority-owned Absa (JSE:ASA) Group to combine their operations, the source said. Barclays bought a 56.4 percent stake in Absa in 2005.
A liquidator's report indicates that Wendy Machanik Properties (WMP) has a shortfall of more than R16 million, The Star reported on Monday.
The report estimates the shortfall from preliminary investigations and has been sent to estate agents who worked for the agency.
06 May 2011
Realestateweb - South African property market corrections - Property talk - South Africa's fastest-growing property website
South Africa is experiencing a property market correction. The question is whether it is or has been on the same scale as has been experienced in the USA during the last 3 years. The American dream has in some states unfortunately changed into an American nightmare.
05 May 2011
Realestateweb - Real estate giant Capital & Counties issues new shares - Listed - South Africa's fastest-growing property website
JSE listed Capital and Counties Properties PLC (Capco) has issued new shares worth more than R18.6m. The placing price will be determined through an accelerated bookbuild launched on May 5 2011. A third of the company's shareholders are South African.
A company statement says the proceeds will predominantly be used to fund acquisitions at Covent Garden and for ongoing repositioning of assets at its central London estate. Capco says it has identified a number of potential acquisitions of various sizes that the board believes will become available in coming months.
Capco is a non-mining rand hedge on the JSE with its asset base in and around the London city centre. It's been responsible for the revamping of the historic Covent Garden on the eastern fringes of the West End and areas of the populous Earls Court district.
Covent Garden reportedly hosted foot traffic of 45m last year alone. It has mainly been associated with the former fruit and vegetable market located in the central square which is now a popular shopping and tourist site. Capco has concentrated its efforts on rejuvenating both Covent Garden and Earls Court and has its sights set on peripheral properties for refurbishment and development.
The company's ultimate aim is to improve rental levels at Covent Garden with the board seeing ongoing repositioning of assets at its estate.
Realestateweb - Seeff tries to rescue Golf & Leisure - Listed - South Africa's fastest-growing property website
Due to the fact that I have already been consulted by one of the Fractional Companies involved in this whole disaster, I have been following and continue to follow developments closely. My Client appears to be one of the few lucky ones (at this stage) but investigations continue.
I guess the words of the Shakira FIFA World Cup song come to mind "It's time for Africa!"
The World Economic Forum’s Africa summit opened on Wednesday with the launch of the Africa Competitiveness Report, 2011. The report, the third produced so far, takes stock of Africa’s competitiveness in relation to other regional economic hubs.
Realestateweb - Financial wizardry in R3.5bn property scheme - Investment insights - South Africa's fastest-growing property website
A picture of financial wizardry is emerging at Picvest (formerly PIC Syndications), one of the country’s biggest property investment schemes. Despite assurances that investors’ assets are rock solid, there is no proof provided to back up these claims.
Please also see my previous Blog postings on this topic.
04 May 2011
The number of new home loans being granted will remain sluggish for the rest of this year as consumers battle to afford or qualify for finance.
Total household credit comprises instalment sales agreements, leasing finance, mortgage advances, overdrafts, credit card debt and general loans and advances.
According to Jacques du Toit, senior property analyst at Absa Home Loans, the growth in the total value of outstanding mortgage balances – both for commercial and residential bonds – dropped by 2,9% y/y.
“It was the lowest year-on-year growth on record since 1966,” says Du Toit. “On a monthly basis, total mortgage balances were down by R1,6-billion or 0,2%,” he adds.
“The mortgage balances in the corporate sector comprise about 26,5% of the total market value of R1 046-billion and showed that in this sector, mortgage finance recorded growth of just 2,9% y/y in March, a record low,” he says.
Du Toit points out that mortgage balances in the household sector – largely related to residential properties – recorded growth of 4,3% y/y, up from 4,1% in February. The value of the bonds was R4,5-billion.
“Despite the fact that interest rates are at their lowest level in 35 years, the housing market is still experiencing relatively tough conditions. These are driven by various factors that impact on the consumers’ ability to afford housing and qualify for a mortgage bond,” says Du Toit.
He says there are still high levels of debt in relation to household income and a large percentage of consumers have impaired credit records. “Rising transport costs, higher food prices also contribute to the inability of consumers to qualify for mortgage finance,” says Du Toit.
He forecast that growth in mortgage advances as a component of household credit will record single-digit growth for the coming year.
Thousands of investors have been severely affected by the recent collapse of various property syndications around South Africa. Whenever something like this happens, people always want to know how this could have happened and who is responsible.
See some of my previous posts on Picvest and Sharemax.
Rebosis, built up from scratch by CEO Sisa Ngebulana (pictured above), offers as unique selling points a large exposure to the rising black-middle class through strategically located retail developments.
Realestateweb - Increase in first time home buyers - Residential - South Africa's fastest-growing property website
The FNB House Price Index (HPI) for April has shown a significant increase in the number of first time buyers between the 2nd quarter of 2010 and the first quarter of 2011. According to the index, first time buyers as a percentage of total buyers rose to 22% from 17% over the past four quarters.
03 May 2011
The bank said this was the second successive month of mild acceleration in y/y house price growth, triggered by the lagged result of interest rate cuts by the Reserve Bank late in 2010.
"Those rate cuts caused a mild uptick in residential demand which may have been more than just the usual summer seasonal factors," said FNB property strategist John Loos.
In real terms, however, adjusted for consumer price inflation, the y/y decline continued to the tune of -2,8% in March.
"However, the FNB valuers' market strength index suggests that our valuers have started to see further deterioration in the strength of demand versus supply during April, after some small signs of stabilisation in preceding months of 2011. This weakening in the market balance is the combined result of a further strengthening in the supply of residential stock on the market during the month, along with a weakening in demand, according to the valuers' combined opinion," he said.
"The contrast between the valuers' combined opinion and a slight acceleration in year-on-year price growth suggests that we should not expect too much from the slight rise in price growth. What is probably being reflected in the recent house price trend is the mild residential demand improvement late in 2010, which was the result of two late-2010 interest rate cuts.
"However, the last rate cut was five-and-a-half months ago in November, and it is likely that the impact is starting to wear thin," he said. - I-NetBridge
Criticism about the functionality of the new property transfer duty e-filing system introduced by the SA Revenue Service (Sars) last month has escalated.
The Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) on Friday added its voice to complaints that serious problems were being experienced by conveyancers with the new system.
Adrian Lackay, a spokesman for Sars, earlier last week denied there were any problems with the new system and maintained it was working normally.
I don't know who Adrian Lackay is BUT I would like to tell him that the system has several faults and that the staff at the SARS call centre are TOTALLY UNTRAINED in its use!
Why would you actually pay someone whose only ability/skill is to give you a reference number and tell you that a consultant will revert to you????
Why would these staff tel you that a consultant will contact you within 48 hours when they have no intention of doing so????
Why when a consultant eventually contacts you would a technical guy contact you, only to admit that he can only answer IT questions and actually has ABSOLUTELY NO KNOWLEDGE of Transfer Duty regulations????
Why would they then suggest that you take up the matter with the local SARS office when the office is is Cape Town and you are in Pretoria????
Why when you eventually get through to the local SARS office do they tell you that they can't take calls from the public and refer you back to the call centre ... WHICH WAS WHERE YOU STARTED????
Why would you have an e-mail help service that is incapable of even acknowledging receipt of your query????
Why would SARS give a damn???
Property funds and property stocks listed on the JSE have shown outstanding growth over the past few years. And this with substantially less volatility than the current boomer: mining and resources
Realestateweb - Affordable housing in demand - Residential - South Africa's fastest-growing property website
Demand for affordable housing in South Africa far outweighs affordable housing stock, particularly for properties with values below R200 000, where potential demand is in the millions.
At the end of 2010, South Africa was formally inducted into the group after some intense lobbying, and the group became, officially, BRICS. This inclusion promises to give South Africa a prominent spot in world economic debates, and to put it firmly into global league tables. The question is, how does South Africa stack up against its BRICS and emerging market peers, and against the rest of the world?