Weekly Newsletter
Friday, 11 July, 2008
Property Search | Estate Agents | List your property

Edition 26 of 2008, Friday, 11 July 2008

Dear Reader

Times are not getting easier in fact it is set to get tougher. This to both businesses and the consumer was the message this week. Another 50 basis-point interest rate hike is on the table for August 2008 and more is expected before the end of the year.

Although we have seen many of our strongest companies share prices slashed and the prices of houses fall to its lowest in 15 years there should not be any concern that the country is on the verge of its first recession in 16 years. The overall message is that things will get better, not now but predicted at the end of 2009.

End 2009? It seems like a very long way off, definitely not a quick end in sight. It is best for struggling homeowners to take action right now. You might be asking what is the right action. This is difficult to answer as only you know your real financial situation. My advice to you is to do whatever you can to keep your property as property stays a good investment and to speak to your bank/lender before problems happen as they are more open to assist then.

Hi, I just want to know from you, when the economy in South Africa is as it is, is it time to buy or does signs like these gives a warning to wait? Read more in Letters to the editor

We are going through tough times all over. Who would have thought that removal companies are also experiencing tough times? They are also battling to survive as domestic business is shrinking;

Industry executives confirm that the local removal industry is in turmoil, Elliott International CE Charles Luyckx, saying the removals business has declined dramatically over the past six to nine months. Luyckx says his firm, which focuses on the corporate market, is facing a downturn in some areas of its local business. Crown Removal says it used to generate 60% of its business locally but this revenue stream has been overtaken by international business, which now accounts for 70% of its revenue. Even one of the industry's bellwethers, Stuttaford Van Lines, acknowledges the slump. "Over the past three months there has been a downturn in national moves due to the slowdown in real estate caused by rising interest rates," says Stuttaford Van Lines national marketing manager Julie Munro.

On the property front this week three articles on rentals as "rental" is quickly becoming the new buzz word in the property industry;

  • Residential rental cost rising rapidly
  • Rental demand up sharply in Joburg’s northern areas
  • Retail tenants call for rental reductions

The way you live in your home is not the way to sell your home. Most buyers would prefer to buy a house that doesn’t need any work or minimal work. It is not an easy task to predict what will appeal to a potential buyer or what will turn them away. BetterBond's tips to home buyers and sellers

Don't forget to visit our CyberProp Blog for more property news and views.

The editor


>> Property news - US wealthy still love real estate

NEW YORK - Despite media reports to the contrary, real estate is still considered a sound investment and affluent consumers in the US have confidence in both the current housing market and the fact that their homes have retained their value.

These are the findings of a new consumer research study undertaken by the authoritative Architectural Digest with Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates. In the survey, titled “Seeking an Extraordinary Lifestyle,” 85% of respondents agreed with the statement, “I think real estate continues to be one of the better investments a person can make.”

>> South Africa: House Prices Rocked By Biggest Fall in 15 Years

THE failing South African residential property market was hit by more bad news yesterday, with new figures showing real house prices took their biggest plunge in 15 years in May.

With no quick end in sight to rocketing inflation and interest rates that have knocked the economy, struggling homeowners can expect things to get worse before they get better.

Another 50 basis-point interest rate hike is on the cards at next month's Reserve Bank monetary policy committee meeting, and there may be yet more hikes before the year ends.

>> Steady improvement in property values towards end of 2009


While there is widespread acceptance in the residential housing market that the drop-off in sales volumes countrywide is in the region of 35% and that average house prices year on year have fallen by ±10% (albeit not in all areas) there is a wide range of opinions as to how long this “stabilisation” period will last.

>> Residential rental cost rising rapidly

South Africa’s residential rents are continuing their rapid rise, with the Trafalgar national rent index rising by an annualised 12.5% to 153 in the first half of 2008 as the home buying market falters.

Significantly, the rise is 100% up on January to June 2007’s 6.2% annualised rental increase.

"A pattern seems to be emerging of rents rising faster in the second half of the year," said Andrew Schaefer, MD of Trafalgar, the national property manager that produces the index...

>> Rental demand up sharply in Joburg’s northern areas

Demand for rental units in Johannesburg’s northern and north-western suburbs has increased exponentially since the beginning of the year.

Chas Everitt International’s rental manager for the area, Shirley Tolstrup, says the number of units rented in the first half of this year is 50% up on the figure for the whole of last year - and demand last year was double that in 2006...

>> Retail tenants call for rental reductions

The current economic situation being experienced in South Africa is putting pressure on the retail industry, resulting in some retail tenants battling to meet contractual rental payments.

This is according to Marc Edwards, general manager of Spire Property Management, who says that they are seeing a shift in the market in their retail portfolio...

>> All the rage

The rocketing fuel price is making tele-working from home an increasingly popular option while other factors contributing to this trend are South Africa’s congested road system around cities and rising tolls.

“Tele-working is becoming a more acceptable option to employers, traditionally slow to embrace the concept of employees working from remote stations," says Martin Schultheiss, CEO of estate agency group Homenet. "But new economic realities are expected to turn the tide in this respect...

>> "Why things will get better soon"

Property heavyweight Tony Clarke, a prominent economist has warned investors off residential for 10 years - but others think the cycle is set to turn soon.

While there is widespread acceptance in the residential housing market that the drop-off in sales volumes countrywide is in the region of 35% and that average house prices year on year have fallen by ±10% (albeit not in all areas) there is a wide range of opinions as to how long this "stabilisation" period will last...

>> Five good reasons to become a homeowner

A high inflation, low credit environment may not seem like the ideal one in which to begin building wealth, but that is exactly what people who buy their first homes now will be doing.

“While there are cycles in the market, the value of homes tends to double every 10 years,” says Dr Willie Marais, national president of the Institute of Estate Agents of South Africa (IEASA). “The sooner you buy, the sooner you start to tap into this growth – and now is a good time to get into the market because there is a lot of stock to choose from and prices are highly negotiable...

>> For-sale sign not an open invitation

Homeowners who want to sell their properties should not throw their security measures overboard or slacken their vigilance.

“And they need to realise that while a for-sale sign on the pavement is a great marketing tool, it can also attract the attention of people with less than savoury intentions,” says Berry Everitt, MD of the Chas Everitt International property group...

>> The Black Conveyancers Association calls for a special repo rate on housing

Johann Appies, Chairman of the Black Conveyancers’ Association, has called on the SA Reserve Bank to implement a special lower repo rate for housing loans.

Appies said that the constitution of South Africa stipulates that the SARB is responsible for the protection of South Africa’s currency in the interests of economic growth and development. The SARB, he said, interprets this mandate as being “the achievement and maintenance of price stability”.

>> Buyers turning to existing homes

The scales have tipped in favour of those looking to purchase property, and buyers looking for good returns and value will find opportunities aplenty in established homes.

So says Carlos Moreira, principal of the new Homenet Olympic branches in Alberton and Rosettenville, who has 18 years of real estate experience in Johannesburg’s southern suburbs...

>> Building confidence drops

An index of builders’ confidence dropped further in the second quarter of 2008, reflecting weakening demand for new houses in the face of a tight interest rate environment.

The FNB Building Confidence Index declined to 50 in Q2 2008 from 66 in Q1 2008 and well below an index value of 88 during the same quarter last year.

The index, compiled quarterly in conjunction with the Bureau for Economic Research (BER) at Stellenbosch University, measures the confidence of all the players involved in the building industry such as architects, quantity surveyors, contractors, sub-contractors, wholesale and retail merchants, and manufacturers of building materials...

>> News from - Nationlink Property Group

Now’s a good time to renovate … maybe

In order to sell a home these days, owners need the property to outshine the competition and also need to be very patient as well as highly negotiable on price.

Consequently, says Dr Piet Botha, chairman of the Nationlink estate agency group, it isn’t surprising that many are shelving their plans to move and deciding instead to extend or improve their existing homes...

>> Letters to the editor

Reader: Hi, I just want to know from you, when the economy in South Africa is as it is, is it time to buy or does signs like these gives a warning to wait? I have a Townhouse in Vanderbijlpark and was thinking of selling and buy in Jo'burg, what do you think?

Editor: Zweli, I am opening your question to our readers. Lets see what they have to say.

To respond on this letter email news@cyberprop.com

>> Focus on Grabouw, Western Cape, South Africa

Grabouw is the commercial centre for what is the largest single export fruit producing area in Southern Africa. The town was created on the farm Grietjiesgat acquired in 1856 by Willem Langschmidt, who named the place after Grabau, the village of his birth in Germany.

>> View Properties in Grabouw
>> View Properties in the Western Cape

>> Property of the week

Western Cape, Grabouw

Magnificent 4657m² smallholding in the country with beautiful views of the mountains. 2 Cottages, workshop and art/pottery studio offer excellent business potential. Space for horses and stables, chickens, ducks & geese. In close proximity to hiking and mountain biking trails and to the Eikenhof Dam. Fruit trees include figs, plums and nectarines. 50 Minutes from Cape Town and 20 minutes from Somerset West. A very special property and country living at its best!!

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>> BetterBond's tips to home buyers and sellers

10 low-cost ways to increase saleability

The way you live in your home is not the way to sell your home. Most buyers would prefer to buy a house that doesn’t need any work or minimal work. It is not an easy task to predict what will appeal to a potential buyer or what will turn them away. Here are ten very easy suggestions that will help you to sell your home:

1. Get rid of the clutter in every room to allow the buyer to really see your home. Pack away what you want to keep and store it in your garage if you need to. Boxes in the garage are acceptable, as it shows that you are moving and are serious about finding a buyer.

2. Welcome the buyer at the entry. First impressions count, so put out a new doormat; put a pot plant by the front door; make sure the door handle is clean – or polished if it is brass and make sure the front entry is swept and clean.

3. Stimulate the buyer’s imagination. Your goal is to set a scene that will encourage buyers to imagine themselves living in your home. So set the dining room table; use your best bed linen; put matching, fluffy, clean towels in the bathroom with a candle or two; add a bowl of fresh fruit in the kitchen; if you’re fortunate enough to have a fireplace and it’s a cold day, light the fire; add some small pot plants or flowers in some of the rooms; if you have a swimming pool, put out your garden furniture.

4. Create a feeling of space. Make sure that the entrances to all the rooms have an open flow. If you have over-sized or too much furniture, consider moving some of it into storage or ask a family member or neighbour to store it for you. Almost every home shows better with less furniture. If your dining room table has an extra leaf, remove it to make the room appear larger. Leave just enough furniture in each room to showcase the room’s purpose.

5. Create counter space in the kitchen. Store away extra appliances and pack away the dishes and dish rack.

6. Avoid décor that is too personalised. Pack away the cutesy ornaments, most of the family photos, the wild posters in the children’s bedrooms, the magnets and pictures off the fridge, any hanging beads – in fact, anything that would not appeal to the masses.

7. Make the house sparkle. Give the house a thorough spring clean and don’t forget the windows. If the carpets are grubby – have them cleaned. Replace any worn rugs.

8. Make minor repairs. Patch up cracks in the walls and repaint in a neutral colour. Replace any broken windows; replace burned-out light bulbs; make sure the taps aren’t leaking and re-caulk in the bathroom and kitchen if necessary.

9. Be ruthless about odours. If there is a nasty smell, your house won’t sell.

10. Check the curb appeal. If a buyer won’t get out of the agent’s car because she doesn’t like the exterior of your home, you’ll never get her inside. Mow the lawn, trim the bushes and make sure the sidewalks are clear of clutter. Plant some yellow flowers or group flower pots together.

Article by: Cheryl Marais – Direct Marketing Manager - Betterbond

>> Software at its best!

Cell Phone enquiries from the public

Buyers driving past your advertising boards will be able to see an unique Internet Number allocated to the specific property. They will then SMS that number to 35476 and will receive an SMS back with all the details of the property. At the same time the agent / agency will also be informed of a potential buyer. How's that for technology working for you! The cost - mahala! Free to all CyberAgent subscribers.

Here's a diagram on the way this process will work...

  1. Agent captures the details of the property and pictures into CyberAgent
  2. Agent updates the property to the Internet
  3. The Internet server sends back a unique number for that property
  4. Agent puts up his "For Sale" board together with our SMS board
  5. Potential buyer sees the "SMS" board and SMS's the unique number to the Internet server
  6. The Internet server sends back an SMS with all the property details and a link to the website where he/she can view pictures on the propert

If you would like to know more about the above features and benefits that CyberAgent offer, visit: www.cyberagent.co.za or email: sales@cyberprop.com

For Sale Property:
Eastern Cape Freestate Gauteng Kwazulu Natal Mpumalanga North West Northern Cape Limpopo
Western Cape

To Rent Property:
Eastern Cape
Gauteng Kwazulu Natal North West Western Cape