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Showing posts from March, 2012

Standard Bank grabs crown in home loans

Standard Bank grabs crown in home loans Standard Bank has overtaken Absa to become the mortgage bond market leader in South Africa, increasing the size of its home loan book to R275 billion from R244bn over the past 18 months. Steven Barker, the head of home loans at Standard Bank, said yesterday that the lender had an overall market share of 32 percent at the end of last year, compared with about 27 percent previously, and it financed about one in three of all new mortgage advances. The growth in Standard Bank's mortgage loan book is related to it writing a lot more business because not all its bank competitors, particularly Absa, have had as strong an appetite as in the past for providing mortgage finance. Reserve Bank data showed that at the end of January last year Absa was the market leader with 30.57 percent of new mortgage advances, followed by Standard Bank (30.7 percent), Firstrand (18.48 percent) and Nedbank (16.83 percent). Standard Bank has grown its mortgage

Commercial properties beat the market

Commercial properties beat the market Directly held commercial property outperformed equities and bonds in South Africa last year. The SA Property Owners Association's property index, International Property Databank (IPD), released yesterday, showed property unit trust listed property funds achieved a return of 12.2 percent and directly held property posted a 10.4 percent return last year, compared with 2.6 percent for the equity market and 10.1 percent for bonds. South Africa's overall commercial real estate market achieved modest growth last year, with a 10.4 percent return. Uncertainty in global markets, weak local demand and slowing consumer confidence resulted in muted capital growth of only 1.4 percent while income returns were steady at 8.9 percent. The index is based on a sample of 2 017 properties with a capital value of R204.8 billion at the end of December. IPD South Africa managing director Stan Garrun said yesterday that the results confirmed the impact

Public input invited for new Rental Housing Bill

Public input invited for new Rental Housing Bill The public is invited to respond to the redrafted Rental Housing Bill that was introduced on October 28, 2011, in the National Assembly. The portfolio committee on human settlements met twice to consider submissions, and after much debate, had the Bill redrafted. Written submissions must reach the committee secretary by 4pm next Thursday, April 5, 2012, with public hearings in parliament scheduled for April 24-25. A public notice issued by Beauty Nomhle Dambuza, MP and chairwoman of the Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements states, among other things: "The Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements had embarked on the process of redrafting the Rental Housing Amendment Bill. During the process of public hearings and oversight visits, the committee had witnessed irregularities in the rental sector. "The committee is of the opinion that the Act should address the challenges the country faces in respect of the rental s

Capital Gains Tax 'to affect property pricing'

Capital Gains Tax 'to affect property pricing' The news about capital gains tax in the 2012 Budget has brought further relief for sellers of primary residences in some respects, but the general increase of the CGT rates will have a definite and immediate effect on the pricing of property. This is according to Herschel Jawitz, chief executive of Jawitz Properties. "Primary residences sold from March 1, 2012, for R2 million and more, the first R2m will be exempt from CGT. This is an increase of R500 000 over the previous R1.5m threshold. "However, there is a substantial increase in the inclusion rate of the taxable net profit individuals realise when they sell, from 25 percent to 33.3 percent. This will translate into an average rate of CGT an individual pays of 13.3 percent, which is substantially up from the previous average of 10 percent," Jawitz says. "The increase from a 50 percent inclusion rate to 66.6 percent will apply when a company or clos

R4 billion property develpment planned for V&A

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R4 billion property develpment planned for V&A Several sites at the V&A Waterfront - SA's most valuable piece of real estate - will undergo a multibillion-rand facelift over the next two decades and will boast more luxury hotels, high-end flats and stylish new office blocks. An artist's impression of the proposed new development behind the Clocktower precinct. Today, the Cape Argus can reveal how, over the next 10 years, more than R4 billion will be spent on redeveloping parts of the precinct. The new construction, including a high-rise residential building - which will double the number of hotels and office blocks - is just part of the massive development planned. The vision is for the area to become a place for people to work, live and play. Construction work behind the old grain silo. The granary, including the massive silos at the back-end of the Clock Tower precinct with their cathedral-like stature, will become the centrepiece where huge office b

State rent arrears hurt property owners

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State rent arrears hurt property owners A central Johannesburg building occupied by government entities might be closed down by its owner because of failure to pay rent, Rick Curry, the managing director of property management company Curry Group, said yesterday. The old JSE building in central Joburg. Statistics SA and the SAPS have leases on offices in the Stock Exchange Building, off Diagonal Street. Curry said Stats SA owed R1.74 million for rent and had not paid since September 26 last year, and the SAPS owed R1.8 million, with the last payment being on November 10 last year. The owner of the building is Hostprops 85. Government office accommodation is leased by the Department of Public Works on behalf of client departments. Lebo Lebiya, who works at the leasing section at the department's regional office in Johannesburg, said yesterday that the department was facing challenges when it came to leases as these had been moved from the regional offices to the nation

Possible plea bargain in Machanik case

Possible plea bargain in Machanik case Former estate agent Wendy Machanik's case was postponed by the Commercial Crime Court in Johannesburg on Wednesday for a possible plea bargain agreement. The postponement to May 7 was to allow for negotiations in terms of section 105(a) of the Criminal Procedures Act, which permits a guilty plea in exchange for information, the court heard. Bail for Machanik and her co-accused Bruce Bernstein was extended. Bernstein was also allowed to have his passport back so he could travel to the United States to see his sick brother. "The state is in no fear that he is a flight risk," prosecutor Adele Carstens said. On May 7, a date for confirmation of a plea bargain, if reached, would be set, or if the negotiations failed, a trial date would be set. The two were arrested last year on charges of conspiracy to commit fraud, failure to keep accounting records and failure to reflect over 100 transfers between the company's trust an

Implications of the Consumer Protection Act on property

Implications of the Consumer Protection Act on property A tidal wave of press comment on the implications of the new Consumer Protection Act has hit the media in recent months - and among those most concerned about it are South Africa's estate agents and their principals. For this reason Gunston Attorneys' Commercial Director, Trudie Broekmann, has investigated the impact of the act on estate agents' mandates. In terms of the act, said Broekmann, the mandated estate agent supplies services and possibly, goods, to the principal, as well as to the potential purchaser, tenant or even seller, where the agent was mandated to find a property for a purchaser to buy. The agent is consequently a 'supplier' as defined in the act, and in that role, needs to ensure that he or she complies with the many relevant provisions of the act when interacting with buyers, sellers and tenants. "The mandate deals with the relationship between the agent and the principal, and m

Concourt sends tenants in lease row to tribunal

Concourt sends tenants in lease row to tribunal A group of tenants whose leases were cancelled to make way for more expensive apartments must take the matter back to the Gauteng Rental Housing Tribunal, the Constitutional Court has ruled. "The tribunal is empowered to determine whether a landlord committed an 'unfair practice', and it might accordingly rule in the tenants' favour," said Justice Edwin Cameron. Aengus Lifestyle Properties, which specialises in buying old Joburg buildings and revamping them into modern apartments, had given notice to tenants of Lowliebenhof, Braamfontein, leases. Aengus wanted to revamp the building so it offered the tenants alternative accommodation, with the option to stay on but paying higher rent. The tenants lodged a complaint with the tribunal, a body established under the Rental Housing Act, but mediation was unsuccessful. When the landlord brought eviction proceedings against them in the High Court in Joburg, they

Joburg residents complain about illegal buildings and land use

Joburg residents complain about illegal buildings and land use The lack of by-law enforcement, especially around illegal buildings and land use, is the main concern for residents living in Joburg's Region B, which covers Sandton and Alexandra. At a mayoral roadshow held to hear residents' main concerns in their area, the issue of the flagrant disregard for building regulations by property owners came to the fore. Residents of suburbs such as Riverpark in Alexandra and Orange Grove complained that nothing was being done about illegal buildings and the erection of shacks. Riverpark residents said the number of shacks going up in the area was of concern because it was leading to overcrowding and illegal land use. There were also no toilet facilities, which was leading to shack dwellers using the Jukskei River for their ablutions. In suburbs such as Lombardy East, property owners were building back rooms and renting them out at a handsome profit. In one case, a court

Building index climbs most in nine months

Building index climbs most in nine months "Investors are seeing opportunity" – analyst. Construction-stocks gauge rose the most in nine months on expectations that the outlook for the industry is improving. The ten-member FTSE/JSE Africa Construction & Building Materials index climbed 2,5% to 44,81 at the close in Johannesburg, its biggest increase since June 7. Pretoria Portland Cement Co led gains. “The construction sector may have bottomed” after the index fell 26% last year, Henre Herselman, a derivatives trader at Nedbank Group’s BoE Stockbrokers in Johannesburg, said by phone. “Investors are seeing opportunity.” President Jacob Zuma announced plans for a “massive” infrastructure drive in his February 9 state-of-the-nation speech to help spur investment and support growth in the continent’s biggest economy. The Treasury allocated R844,5 billion to telecommunications, energy, transportation, housing and water projects in the three years through March 2015.

Sapoa mulls court action on surcharge

Sapoa mulls court action on surcharge The South African Property Owners Association (Sapoa) is on the verge of taking the eThekwini Municipality to the High Court in a legal effort to have the development surcharges that are being levied against property developers declared illegal and thus withdrawn from implementation. Developers of commercial and multi-unit residential property are having to shell out for this development fee, which the municipality says is a surcharge for infrastructure, as well as the traditional development charges for new projects. This is affecting the feasibility of such developments as well as making the cost of buying property in the Durban area extremely high. In November 2010, Sapoa made written representations to the municipality on what were then its 2010/11 tariffs, which included a development surcharge. Sapoa says the surcharge is indistinguishable from the development charge proposed in the draft policy. When this was repeated in the 2011/20

Accountant survives Pickvest CEO`s complaint

Accountant survives Pickvest CEO`s complaint Rikus Myburgh fails to get auditing body to act against nemesis Andre Prakke. Rikus Myburgh, CEO of controversial syndication promoter Pickvest (formerly PIC Syndications), has failed in his complaint against nemesis Andre Prakke. Last year Moneyweb reported that Myburgh had laid a complaint against Prakke with the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (Saica). See Pickvest CEO lays complaint against Andre Prakke. Both Myburgh and Prakke are chartered accountants. Myburgh’s complaint, which can be downloaded here, accused Prakke of causing the loss of income to Pickvest of “hundreds of millions of rands”. Presumably this income would have been earned as profits on the sale of syndicated properties to investors. Myburgh’s complaint was referred to the regulatory body for auditors, Irba, which takes precedence when a complaint is made against someone who is both a registered accountant and auditor, as Prakke is. Irba d

Pickvest: Billionaire gets five years to repay investors - Property | Moneyweb

Pickvest: Billionaire gets five years to repay investors - Property | Moneyweb 18 000-odd investors may have till December 2016 to see if the rescue plan works. Investors in Pickvest’s eight syndication schemes may have to wait until December 2016 to find out if a rescue plan has been a success. That’s when apparent property billionaire Nic Georgiou and his associates have promised to repay the R4.6bn that was invested in the schemes. In December last year, Pickvest’s investors approved a business rescue plan proposed by practitioner Hans Klopper. About 11 000 of Pickvest’s total 18 000-odd investors voted. More than 99% of those who voted were in favour of the rescue plan. Unlike the plan proposed by Sharemax, Pickvest’s rescue does not require court approval. In terms of the plan, all the properties that were supposed to be owned by investors will be transferred into a public company called Orthotouch. This company has three directors: Nic Georgiou, Panos Kleovoulou and Jan

R4.6bn Pickvest rescue hinges on property billionaire

R4.6bn Pickvest rescue hinges on property billionaire Rescue practitioner says the choice is simple: Accept Georgiou’s deal, or liquidate. Pickvest investors stand to lose an estimated R3.8bn, or 81% of their capital, unless they accept a rescue offer proposed by controversial billionaire Nic Georgiou. This is the message from business rescue practitioner Hans Klopper who filed his plan to save the Pickvest property syndications on Wednesday. The rescue plan can be downloaded here . It was Georgiou who, through his companies, “guaranteed” the generous returns offered by Pickvest syndications. But these guarantees turned out to be worthless when problems started to emerge at the syndication giant earlier this year. Klopper was appointed to the eight Pickvest schemes in a bid to prevent their liquidation. His appointment provides the syndications with temporary protection from their creditors. This protection gives Klopper time to decide if the syndications can be saved. In the

The truth behind my Sharemax divorce - Dawie Roodt

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 Click HERE to visit us on Facebook  The truth behind my Sharemax divorce - Dawie Roodt Relations with directors and lawyer Connie Myburgh became " progressively intolerable". Dear Mr Cobbett I refer to your article of March 1st on Moneyweb; “Was Dawie Roodt fired from Sharemax? It is indeed unfortunate that I am in effect forced to react to allegations made against me in this way. I would also appreciate it if you could carry this reply on your website. Based on your article Mr Myburgh and Ms Haese either said or implied that I was dismissed from the boards of companies related to Sharemax. This is incorrect, the correct facts and version of events are provided below. Please note that I have documentary proof of all the facts that I list hereunder. As you know I was appointed as an independent director to the Sharemax syndicated and other related companies during 2010 primarily to assist in the restructuring of the Sharemax group of companies. Over the mon

Was Dawie Roodt fired from Sharemax?

Was Dawie Roodt fired from Sharemax? War of words erupts over Roodt’s departure from Sharemax’s syndication companies. Was Efficient Group economist Dawie Roodt fired from the boards of Sharemax’s syndication companies? Moneyweb Radio presenter Magnus Heystek claims that he was informed by corporate lawyer Connie Myburgh that Roodt was “fired”. Myburgh is the architect of the Sharemax rescue plan, which received court sanction early this year. This is not the first time Moneyweb has heard of Roodt’s alleged sacking. Dominique Haese, CEO of the Sharemax syndication companies, has also made the allegation, albeit indirectly. During a recent telephone conversation with this journalist, Haese claimed she was aware of the identity of a director who had allegedly leaked documents to Moneyweb. Haese said that the guilty director had been “fired” from the Sharemax syndication boards, and that “steps are being taken against him”. Haese did not mention Roodt by name, but he is the on

Manaka defends controversial government leasing deal

Manaka defends controversial government leasing deal Political connections were not leveraged to secure inflated prices – CEO Joe Mathebula. The company involved in a controversial leasing agreement with the Department of Home Affairs (DoHA) has defended itself against allegations that it has leveraged political connections to secure inflated prices, saying that rentals are market related. Manaka Property Investments leases approximately 25 400m² of office space to the DoHA in the Hallmark building in Pretoria’s CBD. The lease was signed by the Department of Public Works (DPW) which, under its former minister, Gwen Mahlangu Nkabinde, was responsible for authorising the police headquarters leases which resulted in the suspension of police chief Bheki Cele. Reports released in the media on Monday suggested that the lease agreement was costing the DoHA more than one-and-a-half times what it previously paid for office space. According to a written reply to a parliamentary questio

New properties set to change face of Soweto

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New properties set to change face of Soweto Abulani Heights is set to change the face of the Soweto housing landscape. The groundbreaking new development will have a mall, hospital, theatre, municipal offices, fire station and filling stations. A view of the complex. The three-storey blocks of flats are meant for people who earn too much to qualify for a subsidy and too little to buy a house. Project funders International Housing Solutions (IHS) released findings of research conducted by property economist and UCT associate professor Francois Viruly that showed a high level of satisfaction among occupants of the new housing product. Soula Proxenos, managing partner of IHS, said affordable housing was aimed at closing a huge gap in housing that affected "people who can afford to pay but have nothing suitable for them in the market". She said they were not only building affordable homes, but were taking into consideration things such as locations close to residents

SA mayors urged to buy up city land

SA mayors urged to buy up city land The government must intervene radically in the ownership of land around South African cities to ensure optimum economic growth, the country's top mayors were told during a course at the weekend. Enrique Peñalosa, the former mayor of the Colombian capital, Bogotá, said the quality of urban life was the most important determinant of modern economic growth and that the leaders of South African cities should decide what kind of cities they wanted. While land and then capital were initially regarded as the most important factors in economic growth, now it was people, Peñalosa told the mayors and their management teams. "How do you ensure that the best South Africans stay in South Africa and don't go to London or New York? By making it attractive." Peñalosa and his successor are credited by many with turning one of the world's most violent and corrupt capitals into a peaceful and vibrant city in less than 10 years. Peñalosa spok

Residential rental market set to remain weak - FNB

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Residential rental market set to remain weak - FNB The residential buy-to-let and rental markets remain weak and may remain so for some time because of the crowding-out effect of the myriad other consumer costs, according to FNB. However, John Loos, a household and property sector analyst at FNB, said a weak residential market might have been key in preventing interest rates rising last year because of the large weighting of rentals in the consumer price index (CPI). "Should the rental market have strengthened more significantly in 2011 at a time when other components of the CPI were rising sharply, overall consumer price inflation may have risen far higher above the 6 percent upper target limit and that may just have been the catalyst for the Reserve Bank to start hiking interest rates." Loos added that interest rate hikes appeared to have been significantly delayed and residential buying demand had continued to grow gradually. He expected the rental market to pi

Hope for lower income property buyers?

Hope for lower income property buyers? Property ownership has been, and continues to be a vital aspect of life in South Africa - especially for the lower income groups. This is plain to see from the amount of protests regarding housing and the incredible demand for RDP homes. The demand for property has gone un-sated mainly due to the fact that it is incredibly difficult for this group to obtain home loans. While the State of the Nation Address is a key, yearly moment of import for South African politics, it is doubtful that those in the residential property market trade expected any surprises. Predictably the key topics of job creation and infrastructure development took precedence but, there was also significant announcement regarding the purchasing of property. The President quoted from a letter written by Mzukisi Mali - a public servant in the Grahamstown region. Mr Mali, it turns out, is in the unenviable position, which thousands of South Africans share, of being too well of

Carlos Slim tops the Bloomberg Billionaires Index

Carlos Slim tops the Bloomberg Billionaires Index Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, didn’t make the cut. Carlos Slim, the telecommunications tycoon who controls Mexico’s America Movil SAB, is the richest person on Earth, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a daily ranking of the world’s 20 wealthiest individuals. The 72-year-old’s net worth fell $478.4 million in a day to $68.5 billion as of the close of markets on March 2, as U.S. moguls Bill Gates and Warren Buffett placed second and third on the list compiled by Bloomberg News. Brazil’s Eike Batista, who ranks 10th, still covets the top spot after vowing a year ago that he’d become the world’s wealthiest man by 2015. “I’m competitive,” Batista, who trails Slim by almost $39 billion, said in a March 2 telephone interview from Rio de Janeiro. “It’s Brazil’s time to be No. 1. Brazilians have always admired the American dream. What’s happening in Brazil is the Brazilian dream and I happen to be the example.”

Tshwane in bid to enforce use of pre-paid meters

Tshwane in bid to enforce use of pre-paid meters The Tshwane Metro Council is looking at passing a by-law compelling households to have pre-paid meters within three years to improve its revenue collection. Agreeing on a three-year prepayment roll-out strategy at the monthly meeting, executive mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa said the council should pass a by-law compelling every household to be have pre-paid meters. He said the debt for municipal services (water, electricity and rubbish removal) stood at R3.9 billion. "At the current rate the municipality is unsustainable. The installation of pre-paid meters will alleviate this problem," said Ramokgopa. According to the municipality, the credit control measures are not yielding the results hoped for and the debt is increasing while projected revenue is dropping. If the status quo remains, the projected revenue will decrease beyond the municipality's sustainability. The council agreed that all accounts exceeding R3 000 o

Denny Crane

Denny Crane
It's not me ... yet. Denny Crane from the TV series Boston Legal. Click on picture if you're not sure who he is!