Weekly Newsletter
Friday, 20 February, 2009
Property Search | Estate Agents | List your property

Edition 7 of 2009, Friday, 20 February

Dear Reader

RESERVE Bank governor Tito Mboweni sidestepped questions yesterday on whether an interest rate cut is imminent, saying SA’s economy would still notch up some growth this year, despite the global downturn. Businessday - Property owners will have to be patient.

Do you think Carl Niehaus’s landlord is the only landlord that got a headache? The answer is no. Recent stats shows that 50% of tenants are not paying on time. You cannot rent out a property in these bad economic conditions without keeping your fingers cross.
By Denise Mhlanga – Realestateweb

Disgraced ANC activist Carl Niehaus - who stunned the nation over fraud allegations - isn't the only tenant who has been giving his landlord a headache. The Sunday Times reported at the weekend that Niehaus owes about R250 000 in rent for a large Tuscan-style home in Midrand. Niehaus's R45 000/month rental isn't the politician's only financial headache. He has rung up big debts all over the place.

The numbers may be smaller, but the Niehaus story is a familiar one for many landlords: Despite a cut in interest rates, many tenants are reportedly struggling to meet their rental obligations. What's more, tenants in higher rental categories are the worst when it comes to meeting their monthly obligations for their accommodation.

According to the Tenant Profile Network (TPN) Q4 2008 report, 54% of tenants pay their monthly rental on time. This is the same figure as in the third quarter of 2008, says Michelle Dickens, managing director of TPN. Dickens says the national average is 12% of tenants who cannot meet their rental commitments at all. She says 60% of leases obtain only 0,5% to 0,75% rent value as a percentage of the market value. This means that investors are left with a shortfall on their mortgages and levy payments.

The report said that Kwa-Zulu Natal had the worst performance, with 18% of tenants failing to pay their rent, Eastern Cape and Gauteng recorded 10% each while the Western Cape had only 8% of tenants who could not pay their monthly rentals.

Furthermore, the report said 46% of higher income tenants renting properties priced at R7 000 and R12 000 are struggling to pay while 37% of tenants renting properties priced at R12 000 and above could actually pay their rentals. Tenants in the R3 000 and R7 000 income bracket were more likely to meet their commitments with an average of 61% making regular and full rental payments.

Warren Bradfield, branch manager at "Hunters - The estate agents" in Umhlanga says the situation with tenants paying late or struggling to pay is getting worse every month.

Andrew Schaefer, managing director of Trafalgar Property Management says he is picking up a similar trend. However, he says generally people in the lower income groups are still managing to pay their rentals in full and on time because demand for property in that category is such that tenants cannot afford to be kicked out for failing to pay. He says high income earners have difficulties paying their rentals because they are already over-indebted, resulting in either late payments, or not paying in extreme cases.

Tara-Lyn Hort, rental agent for Aida Milnerton, says perhaps 10% of tenants account for bad payers or those likely to struggle with rentals. She says tenants who do not pay on time would pay three to four days late.

Meanwhile, one rental agent told Realestateweb landlords should not wait as long as Niehaus's did to take action. Provided you have a signed lease in place and a good attorney, it is possible to have a tenant evicted in about six weeks, says the Johannesburg agent.

Win with Design> Magazine! In the newsletter edition of 30 January 2009 we announced that Design>Magazine will be giving away R1000.00 every week for four weeks to one lucky subscriber. Congratulations to our winners of the 1st and 2nd. Make sure that you stand a chance to be a lucky winner by registering now.

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Perched up in the hills, Haenertsburg looks like a little piece of Austria transplanted to Africa. A tiny village of just one main street, this is a lovely place to enjoy a quiet meal before or after enjoying the great outdoors of the Letaba District. Focus on Haenertsburg, Limpopo, South Africa

The editor


>> Real Estate news – UK property grass not greener

Think we have it tough on the South African property scene right now? Well spare a thought for our UK counterparts where home prices have fallen about 15%, according to leading mortgage lender Halifax Bank - and the worst is yet to come.

“That’s not to suggest we are without problems of our own. But the fact is, our prices have fallen comparatively modestly by around 5% in real terms and the general consensus is that we may see a return to slight growth perhaps as early as the third quarter of this year,” says Gerhard Kotzé, CEO of the ERA South Africa property group...

>> House prices: dipping or diving?

Auctioneer paints scary picture as home loan distress grows; estate agents, others say South African property market isn't "landslide" bad.

"South Africa is now joining an international landslide in this sector". That was the stark warning about the country's residential property market, issued by the Alliance Group's chief executive Rael Levitt this week after the release of his company's Distressed Asset Index results.

But estate agents have been issuing statements, suggesting we are not far from the bottom of the cycle. Who is right? Should you buy now?

>> Residential housing market close to bottoming out

The latest figures from Absa Homeloans indicate clearly that in 2008 house price growth slowed noticeably in all price categories and across most of South Africa – but the overall picture is nowhere near as bleak as many property watchers would have us think, says Mike Greeff, CEO of Greeff Properties.

“According to ABSA, in the affordable housing sector average prices rose 10% (to R283 000) in 2008. In the middle sector the average prices rose 3,8% (to R965 700) and in the luxury sector it rose by 9,1% (to R4,5 million)...

>> Homeowners, beware of bogus buyers!

Two men and a woman robbed a Vanderbijlpark home after gaining access by pretending to be interested in buying it, Gauteng police said on Thursday.

Captain Lesibana Molokomme said the trio entered the premises on Thursday morning by informing the owner that they were interested in buying the house.

A 22-year-old man, who was home at the time, and the gardener were attacked and left incapacitated and the house was robbed.

"We don't know what's been taken yet... We don't know if they were armed or with what," Molokomme said.

The young man was admitted to hospital.

The three then fled in a white Toyota Corolla. Police urged members of the public to contact them if they come across the vehicle with registration number CFF 829GP.

A case of house-breaking is under investigation. – Sapa

>> Bond application difficulties are most severe at the lower end of the housing market, says StartProp CEO

Picking up on the widespread comments from estate agency people at the Cape about the huge difficulties now faced by their clients when they apply for bonds, Ivan Neethling, Chief Executive of the Cape real estate agency Startprop, said that this had resulted in the agents in the less affluent and disadvantaged areas “becoming very disillusioned”.

Neethling’s firm, which employs some 30 agents, is particularly active in Mitchells Plain, Belhar, Delft and Khayelitsha – with a Constantia headquarters serving Southern Suburbs areas such as Plumstead, Southfield, Retreat and Diep River...

>> A Further 2% drop in interest rates needed to get residential property development moving

Shiraaz Hassan, Marketing and Projects Manager at the Cape headquartered Asrin Property Developers, one of the three largest development companies at the Cape, has added his voice to those of others in the property sector who are calling for a further 2% drop in the interest rates sooner rather than later.

“Only a drop of that size,” said Hassan, “can revive an industry that has seen turnover fall by 50% in the last 18 months...

>> The Players GC - Get n grip get a golf membership

The Players GC is offering you the change to enter the wonderful world of golf and get all the benefits you need as a golfer without having to outlay thousands of Rand's to get it.

Benefits of membership include:

  • An official National Golf Network golf handicap card and official handicap
  • Discounted affiliated rates at courses due to SAGA affiliation. (saving you between R50 to R200 per round)
  • 2 Complimentary lessons with a PGA professional in your area worth R350
  • A free subscription to Universal Golf ezine
  • 4 Strokesaver distance guides of golf courses in your region worth R120
  • Monthly newsletters with competitions, getaways, golf tips and discounts on golf equipment

Value added services

We at The PGC do not only provide golfers with a cost effective alternative to get all the benefits they need as golfers, but also provide our members with value added services exclusive to The PGC.

These services include the following:

  • Members are welcome to email or fax scores through to us that they were unable to enter due to unforeseen circumstances and we will submit those scores to avoid the unpleasant experience of a penalty calculation which normally has a big affect on your handicap as well as handling all related queries regarding your handicap.
  • As a PGC member you will have the luxury of contacting us with any golf related query and we will personally do everything in our power to assist you in any way possible

We can offer you this incredible golf membership for only R1199 per year a R200 discount on the normal rate.

And Even more

Join from now till the end of the March and stand a chance of entertaining 3 of your friends or clients by winning one of 4 four balls at a prestigious golf course in your area worth R1800 per four ball.

To take up this incredible offer contact Neil De Bruyn on 011 998 2999

Or visit www.theplayersgolfclub.co.za and complete an online application form.

>> Sell fast at a profit

Car dealers do it, department stores do it, bakeries do it and you can too — make your product look good, that is. If you're ready to sell your house or apartment, make it easier and more lucrative by following these simple tips.

Cosmetic changes don't have to cost a lot and they can help you get a much better price on your home. The two most important places are the kitchen and the exterior, according to some leading estate agents...

>> Inefficient or decaying electrical networks are dangerous fire hazards, says Anne Porter Knight Frank MD

It can take a whole house burning down to make people realise how important it is to check regularly their home’s electrical network, says Lanice Steward, MD of Anne Porter Knight Frank.

Electrical faults, she said, are probably the most common cause of fires in domestic buildings.

>> Easy ways for homeowners to save water

South Africa has limited water resources so even during the rainy season, homeowners need to be thinking about ways to save water.

And according to the Chas Everitt International newsletter Property Signposts, it’s easy enough to do so just by making a few small changes that will also keep your water bills down, such as the following:

*If you have a leaky tap, replace the washer immediately. A tap leaking at the rate of one drop per second will waste around 10 000L of water every year...

>> Welcome tax relief for bodies corporates

Body Corporates at sectional title schemes in South have been given some welcome tax relief through the Taxation Laws Amendment Act, which was promulgated by SARS in July of last year.

The Act states that all taxable income received by body corporates, i.e. income other than that derived from levies, will be granted a R50 000 exemption per annum...

>> Inner city Loft Living attracts trendsetters

Young professional women are among those who have opted to migrate to the inner city of Jozi, choosing loft living above commuting from the mega-city’s sprawling outer suburbs. Amongst the buildings already renovated for residential use in the inner city, the Aengus Lifestyle Properties’ Fashion Lofts have been particularly popular.

The 15-storey Fashion Lofts are situated on Johannesburg’s colourful fashion district. Boasting superior finishes, such as granite-topped kitchen counters and wooden strip flooring, the apartments are generously proportioned and range from 30 sqm to 82 sqm in size. State-of-the-art biometric security controls access to the underground parking and via the lifts, making these units the ideal choice for those looking for a secure, convenient, quality lifestyle...

>> To the editor

Last week’s letter from one of our readers, Chantal created a buzz this week.

Reader: I would like to know - how is it possible for first time home buyers with no deposit to be able to afford buying a home? Were must we just get +- R110 000 to put down as a deposit? There's no hope for young married couples that wishes to bay their own home. Even if you could qualify for the loan and have good credit record there is no way we would be able to put down that amount of deposit required, so if we don't save for at least +-2 years, we can’t make it, and at last in 2 years everything has changed again, and we would be back to square one... I just feel so hopeless regarding this...

Kind Regards

We received the following responses;

Dear Editor,

Not too sure… but this could just as well being my daughter Chantal. Married just a year ago, my children also now wants to take the bold step in property investment as they are planning to start a family. Their biggest mission the past year was to settle all small debt to prepare themselves for this important step. Why is it that some banks could offer the full at one moment and whilst they were house hunting changed to the deposit criteria. All along they could not afford an amount higher than R 800 000. The next moment the banks requires the deposit and like your previous writer mentioned – back to square one.

I feel the banks should at least allow first time buyers to have a full 100% loan and further more assist them with the lowest rate possible. I don’t have a problem that the credit act should have an influence on their decision to grant a mortgage. This would ensure a healthy generation moving towards a better South Africa and allow those who are disciplined to become investors and self supporters. This would also relieve the Government from the housing strain.

Please Please Please…. They need help!


Dear Editor

In response to your letter from Chantal who was asking how it is possible for a young couple to find a deposit for their first home - as a first time buyer you may be able to qualify for a 100% loan from certain banks. I was fortunate enough to qualify and find that my loan repayments are way below current rentals for similar properties. R E Stewart

Dear Editor

Unfortunately there is no quick answer. First time buyers will have to work responsibly and with a tight budget. These days there are amazing rental opportunities and advice would be to make use of these opportunities and save up for a deposit until the banks change their policies.

Here at Betterbond Westrand we go out of our way to assist our clients and will do our utmost best to get bonds approved. Readers who have questions or who are experiencing problems are more than welcome to direct their emails to me.

Elmar Pittendrigh
Management Betterbond Westrand

Editor: Send your viewpoint to news@cyberprop.com

>>News from – Anne Porter Knight Frank


Anne Porter Knight Frank have once again emphasised the huge importance of thoroughly preparing a home for viewing before putting it on the market.

They have published and distributed a knock-and-drop pamphlet that gives ten tips, all of which, says Lanice Steward, MD of Anne Porter Knight Frank, are crucial if you want (as you should) to set your home apart from others on the market.

>> In the area...

The areas we are going to take a closer look at this week are;

  • East London
  • Hout Bay
  • Vryburg
>> In the area 1 – East London

East London a feast for investors

Property prices in East London have moderated considerably, opening up the market to investors with foresight and cash.

So says Lance Gouws, principal of leading local agency Homenet Cornerstone who notes that sellers in general are now far more realistic than last year and that sales activity is increasing steadily...

> In the area 2 – Hout Bay

Hout Bay market revives

The residential property market in Hout Bay has adjusted to current market conditions and is staging a strong comeback.

Doug Styles, new owner of the local Aida franchise that serves Hout Bay and Llandudno, says the market had to adjust to new realities last year after the strong surge in prices during the boom. “The market has now stabilised at a more realistic level with current prices on a par with those of 2006, leading to increased sales activity...

>> In the area 3 – Vryburg

Vryburg security estate has wide appeal

The historic Vryburg area of the North West Province is the scene of a security estate development that breaks new ground for the local property market with wide appeal for buyers from retirees to young families.

Rosendal Country Estate, as the new project has been dubbed, is a venture by a partnership of active developers in the area with a number of successful projects to their credit...

>> Focus on Haenertsburg, Limpopo, South Africa

Driving east from Pietersburg (Polokwane) to Haenertsburg, the land rapidly changes from flat, dry bushveld to steep hills and valleys covered in lush green forests.

Perched up in the hills, Haenertsburg looks like a little piece of Austria transplanted to Africa...

>> View Properties in Haenertsburg
>> View Properties in Limpopo

>> Property of the week

Limpopo, Haenertsburg

Bifrost Mountain Retreat is your ultimate sanctuary and true Mountain hideaway with magnificent views surrounded by mountain forests and fertile woodlands.

Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2.5
Garages: 2

Search for property in your area

Enter City/Suburb:
>> Are you sure about that builder?

Tips on detecting, avoiding and acting against crooked builders.

You have worked hard all year to save money for renovating your home - only to be ripped off by a builder who does a duck before completing the work you hired him for.

Be careful of bad builders, research before you hire and pay only for work done, is the message from Wayne Reddek, founder of Constructionbuzz, a new online directory aimed at helping to identify the better builders and warning others about the rotten apples...

>> Offering from Webmail

>> Software at its best!

The Property Manager provides you with a very extensive and detailed list of criteria which you can capture for your property listings and gives you the control to decide how you would want these properties to be displayed on the Internet

  • Manage property for sale and previously sold
  • Activate or deactivate Internet listings with immediate effect - no waiting!
  • Keep track of your On Show and On Special properties and list them on your website
  • Print and email multiple reports
  • Unlimited number of pictures
  • Keep a history database

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

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