Weekly Newsletter
Friday, 23 May, 2008
Property Search | Estate Agents | List your property

Edition 29 of 2008, Friday, 23 May 2008

Dear Reader

News, in general, this week is not all looking that good;

  • The increase of the interest rate by the SA Reserve Bank slowed new car sales down in April to nearly 8% to 24094 units from last year's disastrous. April figures when vehicle sales crashed because of the e-Natis fiasco
  • Eskom warned that it might be forced to resume power cuts
  • For three straight days the price of oil sped to new peaks and top $135 a barrel
  • Xenophobic attacks sent foreigners fleeing from townships an displaced
  • The property industry is going through a rough patch and sales of coastal properties have shown a drop

We have seen tough times before and we have survived it too. Best advice to our readers is to hold onto what you have for dear life, to plan ahead and to look for alternative solutions right now. The next 18 months are not going to be easy.

Crime can affect us in many different ways. I am sure that many people are surprised at how emotional they feel after being a victim of crime. Some people share with others while others like to keep the silence. People around us like our families and friends will also be affected. And that is not where it will end. Markets around us like the property market are also affected.

Interest rates might be the key factor for the property market deterioration crime is for sure playing an increasingly negative role. The unrest in the townships this week in Gauteng contribute to this. In the newsletter this week, three crime relate property articles;

  • Rawson Properties new dossier tells agents how to protect themselves and in doing so also the sellers property. Keeping ahead of the criminals
  • FNB - Crime as a key risk to residential property performance
  • A woman tourist who played golf on Pollsmoor Prison's driving range lost R300 000 after being duped by prison inmate Maurice de Grandhomme, the Wynberg Regional Court has been told; Woman lost R300 000 in property scam

Modern homes are getting more compact and while small kitchens, bathrooms and even bedrooms do not seem to bother most people, a spacious living area is highly desirable; Open up your living room

Somerset East, Eastern Cape, South Africa is a charming town bathed in history, set among Oak trees, white-washed buildings, mountain streams and waterfalls (within sight of 16 waterfalls) at the foot of the Boschberg Mountain and so much different than the Somerset West, the town that most of us are familiar with in the Western Cape. The forested and mountainous backdrop creates a dramatic setting for the town and makes it an excellent bird watching destiny. Focus on Somerset East, Eastern Cape, South Africa

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

The editor


>> Real Estate News - Criteria for attracting foreign property buyers spelt out by APFK

If you are contemplating buying an offshore property – as a small percentage of South Africans do each year with a view to spreading their investment base and/or securing themselves a holiday home – which destinations, right now, offer the best prospects?

Lanice Steward, MD of Anne Porter Knight Frank, has drawn attention to a survey, Knight Frank’s Annual Wealth Report, in which one section sets out to assess the ten fastest up-and-coming residential markets worldwide...

>> Market pressures expected to continue for 18-24 months

JOHANNESBURG (May 22) - The impact of the global credit crisis on South African listed property companies’ access to finance has been minor, explains Managing Director of Nedbank Corporate Property Finance Frank Berkeley in a lead article in Property Loan Stock Association’s PLSA News – May edition.

“The sector has remained largely unaffected by the sub-prime problem and furthermore the country is also somewhat isolated from the rest of the world as a result of its exchange controls, which protects it to a degree,” explains Berkeley...

>> News from - Rawson Properties


Rawson Properties new dossier tells agents how to protect themselves and in doing so, the seller's property, it also helps ensure the safety of potential buyers when visiting show houses.

While it is now a concern in the real estate marketing sector that open day show houses can be a security risk, it would be a great pity if they were dropped, says Tony Clarke, MD of Rawson Properties – because they are effective in selling property fast. The small firm with limited advertising budgets would be particularly hard hit, he says...

>> Crime as a key risk to residential property performance

Although interest rates arguably remain the key driver of the property market deterioration, the spectre of crime may be playing an increasingly important negative role too, especially given the township unrest that has flared up around Gauteng in recent days. There are many negative forces in residential property at present, making quantification of the effect of any one factor difficult if not impossible. But in the former white suburbs of Gauteng, emigration talk is rife and crime very often features prominently in such conversations. In addition, in FNB’s Property Barometer surveys, the first signs of the much talked-about emigration surge may possibly be surfacing in the numbers, while a significant percentage of sellers sell in order to relocate for security reasons, underpinning the importance of crime in driving buying/selling behaviour...

>> Woman lost R300 000 in property scam

A woman tourist who played golf on Pollsmoor Prison's driving range lost R300 000 after being duped by prison inmate Maurice de Grandhomme, the Wynberg Regional Court has been told.

The scam allegedly involved the purchase of property at the De Zalze Golf Estate in Stellenbosch.

De Grandhomme, 49, well known in golfing circles, was serving seven years for fraud and exchange control violations when he met tourist Mariana Fergusson at the range.

Although he told her he was in prison for violations of the Exchange Control Act, he did not tell her of the fraud conviction...

>> Bargain-hunters vs hopeful sellers

Auctions - A significant number of deals had yet to be closed following a big Cape Town property auction hours after the bidding.

About 30 buyers were registered for the Alliance Group multiple auction of 19 properties on Wednesday, though an estimated 200 people gathered to attend proceedings...

>> Residential Bonds Vs rental repayments: what's the gap?

Expect at least a 30% shortfall in repayments if you are buying to let - originator

The developer, not you, will make money if you take a mortgage of 80 to 100% on a second property right now, Betterbond's sales director Marsha Haupt has warned.

Haupt said renting has become more attractive along with rising interest rates...

>> Holiday bargains to be had

THE leisure real estate market is going through a rough patch and sales of coastal properties especially have shown a marked drop.

Paul Winterstein of Aucor says sales are in a downward trend, and many owners are struggling to sell their holiday homes.

Sales are being squeezed by the slowing economy and loss of confidence in SA, with a drop in the number of overseas buyers in the market...

>> Make sure of cover

Trustees of sectional title schemes should become more vigilant about the credentials of their managing agency, writes ANNA-MARIE SMITH

THE recent application for liquidation of the Cape managing agency, Sectional Title Administrators cc, is only one in what has been a series of managing agent industry failures throughout the country.

Although the trustees of sectional title schemes are able to check if their managing agents have successfully completed a course, such as the University of Cape Town’s Sectional Title Scheme Management course...

>> My First house Yvonne Chaka Chaka

Yvonne Chaka Chaka’s music career spans 22 years, during which she has recorded 20 albums. Dubbed the ‘Princess of Africa’ by her fans, Yvonne’s music strikes a chord in dwellings all over Mzansi, and she makes others’ lives melodious not only through her famous voice, but also by giving generously of herself to the various charities with which she’s involved.

It makes sense that this concordant style of being flows into Yvonne’s home life as well. Hearing that the first house she bought was not for her, but for her mother, Sophia Machaka, is no surprise. ‘My mother meant everything to me,’ Yvonne says. ‘As a child, I lived with her and my sisters in a room at the back of “the madam’s house”...

>> Open up your living room

Modern homes are getting more compact and while small kitchens, bathrooms and even bedrooms do not seem to bother most people, a spacious living area is highly desirable.

“The living area is usually the hub of a home and takes a lot of traffic. It therefore makes sense to put available space to good use or, if possible, enlarge the room,” says Berry Everitt, MD of the Chas Everitt International property group...

>> Letters to the editor


The Green Building Council of South Africa will open for membership at the end of May, according to Executive Chairman, Bruce Kerswill.

“The GBCSA has experienced enormous support from the property industry, both on the corporate side and from individuals, with over 400 people having contacted us directly since we announced the intention to form the Council. With these numbers we have had to get our act together to cope with the admin involved before we could formally take members on - but we now have staff and systems in place to enable us to go forward.”

The GBCSA is a non-profit organisation formed to drive the adoption of green building in the SA property industry, and is an emerging member of the World GBC.

The Council’s aims include developing a green building rating system, providing educational courses, and developing a resource centre with case studies and information on green building. “We are well down the line in adapting the Australian Green Star rating system for SA, which will be released in pilot form in July. We are currently running a breakfast session where a developer from Australia will present a case study of a 6-Star green building in Sydney (unfortunately only in Cape Town), and we will be holding our inaugural conference and exhibition in November, where we have some of the leading international figures in green building lined up as speakers. The convention will be followed by full-day ‘Green Star Accredited Professional’ courses.”

Membership is corporate and across the spectrum of the property industry. Members will enjoy a range of benefits including talks, social networking events, newsletter, access to case studies and information, etc.

But also, more importantly, they will be supporting an organisation that will play a major role in combating global warming and climate change.

“The publishing of the rating tool in July will be a major event in green building in South Africa, and will accelerate the trend here as it has in other countries,” says Kerswill. “Green building is a very exciting field and has a very strong business case, as well as being one of the key areas in combating climate change. And of course with South Africa’s emphasis on energy, it is particularly relevant here at the moment.”

The Council has the benefit of interaction with other GBC’s and green building experts worldwide, and has a close relationship with the GBC of Australia.

“Our website will be up and running on 21 May, and people can get a feel for our range of activities from there, as well as further details on the GBCSA and Green Star rating system.”

“We will be formally launching our drive for membership at the SAPOA convention to be held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on 28 May. SAPOA has been a keen supporter and facilitator of the GBCSA, and the intention to form the Council was first announced at last year’s SAPOA Convention, a year ago. The GBCSA will have an exhibition stand, brochures and membership forms at this year’s Convention,” concludes Kerswill.

For further information please contact the GBCSA at Tel: 021 659 5990 alternatively mail info@gbcsa.org.za.


>> Focus on Somerset East, Eastern Cape, South Africa

Picture peaceful streets lined with oak trees, whitewashed settler cottages, and heritage roses; all lying in the benign shadow of the Boschberg Mountain.

This mountain, considered by early travellers to be the most beautiful in Southern Africa, is decked with waterfalls, pristine streams; and forests of Yellowwood, Wild Olive and Cape Chestnut among the eighty plus indigenous tree species which grow on the slopes...

>> View Properties in Somerset East
>> View Properties in the Eastern Cape

>> Property of the week

Eastern Cape, Somerset East, Mnandi

Bedrooms: 4
Bathrooms: 2

4 Bedroomed double storey thatched house with fireplace set on 1 ha ( 10 000sqm) with stables and an almost complete cottage.

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>> BetterBond's tips to home buyers and sellers

Tips to make your kitchen more appealing to potential home buyers

Following on last week’s tips for the entrance, lounge and dining room, we will look at tips that will make your kitchen look more appealing to potential buyers in this week’s newsletter.

Neaten up the kitchen cupboards. Some buyers will open your cupboards and cabinets to get a better idea of available space. Remember, you need to help them visualize how they can use the space to suit their own needs. Think of the message it sends if they open a cupboard and things fall out! If everything is packed away neatly, the buyer is likely to think you have probably taken good care of the rest of the house as well.

There’s no doubt that the kitchen is the heart of the home, and one of the fastest ways to the hearts of home buyers. Many buyers are even willing to pay a premium for a home with a renovated kitchen, but be careful – tastes differ. It may be better to simply give your kitchen a thorough clean and make sure there are no leaking taps. Also make sure that all the handles and knobs are very clean – it is awful when you open a cupboard and your fingers stick to the handle!

If your kitchen has melamine cupboards that are scuffed at the bottom, particularly those below the sink, replace them. It is very inexpensive and these doors are available from most DIY outlets. You may have an old oven, but if it works fine and is very clean, then you shouldn’t need to replace it. However, if the stove plates are distorted from the heat and you perhaps have a hook holding the oven door closed, then I recommend you spend a little money and replace it. I speak from personal experience – I put in a lower offer on a home for this very reason. The owners said they would replace it if I would agree to pay the full asking price – that was ten times more than the cost of a new stove and oven, so obviously I said no.

De-clutter… Show as much free counter space as you can. Store away those extra appliances. Take off the magnets, school notices, personal pictures, take-away menus etc. from your fridge. Make sure that the dish towel is spotless, otherwise rather pack it away. Some people recommend that the smell of fresh-baked biscuits on the kitchen table creates a welcoming environment for the potential buyer, but I personally prefer a bowl of fresh fruit. Use polished apples, bright oranges and luscious grapes - it adds colour and indicates healthy eating habits.

Article by: Cheryl Marais – Direct Marketing Manager - Betterbond

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