FNB’S 95% bonds to selected buyers could be the catalyst that he residential sector needs, says Lanice Steward
The revival of the residential property sector has been held back by the banks’ reluctance or inability to fund bonds on their previous scale – but there are, says Lanice Steward, MD of Anne Porter Knight Frank, now signs that the situation is changing gradually.

“FNB,” said Steward, “is now offering 95% bonds to certain qualified buyers. This will be a big help to the market as a whole.”

“Here at APKF we are now finding that the banks are slowly easing up on their lending criteria and we have noticed that those banks which continued to do what they could through the difficult first half of 2009 are now benefiting from the public perception that they are more approachable.”

Other signs pointing to a revival in the not-too-distant future, said Steward, are increased attendances at show houses and a slight shortage of stock in a few areas – which “is good for prices”.

“Some have queried this in the current scenario,” she said, “but in our experience the fundamental laws of supply and demand always kick in: a shortage of stock leads to rising prices.”

Like other spokespeople for the residential sector, Steward feels that, if you are a serious investor, now is the time to buy.

“I think,” she said, “that we are at, or close to, the bottom of the cycle – and if these stock shortages persist, as seems likely, they will lead to increased prices.”

Asked whether winter is a good time to sell (especially at the Cape), Steward said that the perception that the Cape residential sector goes into hibernation from June to September is no longer valid.

“There are slightly fewer buyers but then there is also slightly less competition from other houses for sale – so prices hold their levels. Gardens will, of course, not look as good – but every house has that same problem, and a well kept green garden can be just as attractive as one that is in full flower.

“Care should, however, be taken to see that that no unexpected leaks or damp have become evident – these can wreck the impression that the home makes.

“Now is the right time to put your house on the market – and the right time to buy,” said Steward.

Article by: www.anneporter.co.za