Property market survey in KZN dishes up some surprises

Surprisingly, given current tough conditions in the KZN property market, sellers still persist in ignoring the advice of property professionals and insist on over-pricing their homes.

Russell Hayes of ERA Unique Westville says while this “maybe it will sell” mentality may not preclude a sale, it typically delays the process until the price is adjusted to more realistic levels and almost inevitably results in a lower price than the estate agent recommended at the outset.

Hayes makes the comments against the background of recent market analysis by the agency in Westville and Cowies Hill over an eight-month period.

Some of the key take-outs from the research are that:

* Unrealistically priced properties are achieving between 2%and 5% less than ERA’s valuation;

* Properties are on the market for an average of 71 days; and

* The motivation for selling includes a high quota of potential emigrants (40%) and distressed disposals.

Also, sales volumes are down 35% to 40% and prices achieved are down between 15% to 20%, the figures all being year-on-year.

“Conditions therefore remain difficult and this is probably a microcosm of many of the country’s property markets, although obviously on the ground this will vary from region-to-region” says Hayes.

“However based on our own backyard as it were, I would anticipate an upturn in late 2009 going into 2010 as the final preparations for the World Cup are put into place.

“That scenario could of course change depending on how far the Reserve Bank is prepared to go in cutting interest rates and the impact of world economic conditions on the South African economy.

“A reduction of 2% to 3% would be required to kick start the market and given Reserve Bank governor Tito Mboweni’s previous history, we can expect only small, incremental decreases in rates so it will take time before the benefits filter through to the property market, suggesting no sudden, overnight improvement, but rather a steady recovery.”

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Burst water pipe damages houses

Residents of a Durban suburb are counting the costs of damage caused to their homes by a burst municipal water pipe at the weekend.

One resident feared that part of his home was in danger of collapsing after the foundation became waterlogged.

The owners of the damaged homes in Jan Hofmeyer Drive, Westville, told The Mercury this was not the first time they had been victims of burst water pipes. The most recent happened in August.

Rob Edwards, owner of the property where the water pipe burst, said while his insurance would pay out, he would have to pay the shortfall with the damage set to cost about R120 000. He said pipe bursts were common in Westville.

"My garden was washed away the last time this happened. My garage retaining wall is down and the garage floor was washed away. It's hollow now. My car was also damaged by the water. The square patches on the road show the frequency of the problem," he said. Edwards also feared for the stability of his home because a portion of its foundation had soaked up the water which had happened during the last two incidents.

Westville Boys' High School boarding home was also damaged by the water and sand which came rushing down from Edwards's property.

This was the second time the school residence had been affected.

Mike Metz, administration manager of the school, said most of the flooring needed replacing. The pool also needed major filtering as a result.

"The floor was under 30cm of water. The carpets in the five bedrooms need replacing and also the wooden floors in the passage.

"The cupboards are made of cheap chipboard and they split. We don't know how much all this will cost. I've written to the council to replace the pipes and they said it was in their plans to do so. The municipality has been working on piping down Jan Hofmeyer Drive but who knows when it will get here," said Metz.

eThekwini water and sanitation deputy head Michael Singh said the municipality was not denying that such incidents were occurring and it was in the process of rolling out R850-million over a three-year period to replace old piping infrastructure.

He said the municipality had inherited old infrastructure and was also forced to compromise on maintenance because it also had to spend money in providing infrastructure to people who in the past did not have it.

  • This article was originally published on page 1 of The Mercury on January 07, 2009

Article by: Sinegugu Ndlovu