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APRIL 2012 #77


South African property and lifestyle for international investors OWN A PRIVATE KINGDOM AND BE TREATED LIKE ROYALTY FROM R2 995 000

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Why homes with beautiful gardens sell SA homes getting smaller by DENISE MHLANGA For many property buyers, the decision to finally purchase a home is inevitably swung by emotions, which often seal the property sale deal. Buyers are said to walk into a home during a show house and later when the deal has been signed, say something along the lines of “I just fell in love with the place”. According to Mike Greeff, chief executive officer of Greeff Properties, an Affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estates, property sellers can tap into this phenomenon in a number of ways – from a cosmetic lick of paint, to more fundamental remedies necessitating blood, sweat and renovations. He notes that in the currently heavily stocked buyer’s market, the property for sale has to shout much louder than the others if it is to be noticed, and what better way to do it than investing in the garden, which ultimately sets a tone for what the home has to offer. “First impressions are vital and gardens can make or break a deal.” Greeff explains that when buyers view homes, they start at the front gate and an appealing garden is often the ticket to getting a potential

buyer through the front door. Gardens are so often an afterthought and many people don’t budget for them while others run out of time and just throw money at the problem, according to Gwen Gower, managing director and owner of EarthWorx Garden World in Hout Bay. Gower says while a beautiful garden requires an investment, blowing a fortune on plants at the nursery does not guarantee an Eden. People tend to get carried away and buy like crazy when they love how a plant looks in the nursery, forgetting that it’s growing under ideal conditions. They then rush home and plant it without any forethought or planning as to position, the soil in their own garden and general maintenance, and

disappointment invariably follows, says Gower. Gower says homeowners need to get expert advice and extensive consultations on gardening particularly if they wish to sell their homes at some stage. “A well-researched and thoughtfully landscaped garden will mean a significant saving in money and time in the long run.” Greeff Properties estate agent Debbie Woods points out that while it is difficult to quantify how much monetary value a beautiful garden adds to a property, wellkept, landscaped grounds do attract far more offers than a standard run-of-the mill garden. “Neglected and dull gardens undoubtedly detract from property values,” she says.


Repo rate remains unchanged at 5.5% by DENISE MHLANGA The South African Reserve Bank Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has decided to keep the repurchase rate unchanged at 5.5 percent per annum. Announcing the decision, the Reserve Bank Governor Gill Marcus says holding interest rates steady is an active decision and not a default one. The MPC’s decision is guided by global economic trends, their implications, how these affect South Africa’s economy and in what timeline, she explains. Marcus says the world is


faced with uncertainty and the bank cannot afford to be complacent about South Africa’s economic outlook as the country is also affected by these uncertainties. According to Adrian Goslett, chief executive officer of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, the repo rate has remained unchanged since November 2010 in the hopes that the low and steady rate would help stimulate the economy. He notes that low interest rates and major banks’ more relaxed lending approach have done just that. “The property market

continues to see a marked improvement with more buyers entering the market thanks to affordability. He says bond origination companies have reported as much as 63 percent growth in the volume of bond transactions processed during February 2012, compared with the same period during 2011. For the first time, reports have shown that January was a better month than December, which is good news for the property sector and points to the market moving in the right direction, he says.

by STAFF REPORTER The South African residential property market has radically adjusted to tough economic conditions and land shortages over the past four years. This is according to Lanice Steward, managing director of Anne Porter Knight Frank. She explains that a great deal has been said about homes being more realistically priced as sellers react to current market conditions. Steward notes that the latest FNB Property Barometer reveals that new residential stands, which in 1970 to

1974 averaged just over 1 000 square metres, dropped by 2010 to just over 500 square metres, meaning they have literally halved in size on new developments. Similarly, average building sizes have dropped from 203 square metres in 1970 to 1974 to 146 square metres in 2010 to the present and this figure is still declining. Also affected have been sectional title units, where the average size of new units today is a mere 90 square metres, she says. Steward explains that it has to be remembered that sectional title units have always been relatively compact – the bigger units with 160 square metres or more mostly date from the 1950s to 1960s. However, the FNB figures show that by 2000 to 2004, on new projects the average had in fact crept up to nearly 130 square metres - the drop to 90 square metres is therefore significant, she says.

Another big change can be seen in the fall-off in domestic quarters and swimming pools. In 1955 to 1959, half of new houses had domestic quarters. Since 2010, this figure has dropped to 11.5 percent. In 1980 to 1984, 40 percent of new houses had swimming pools, today the figure is down to 9.1 percent. Garages are now more frequently seen as a luxury extra, she points out. Since 2010 only half of new homes have been given these and this is 10 percent below the previous figure of 69.5 percent, says Steward. She notes that there has also been a big decline in four bedroom homes and a big rise in two bedroom homes. The good news from the property sector is that

house prices are now beginning to stabilise in all the sought-after areas and banks are increasing the number of loans granted, she adds.

APRIL 2012


SA expatriates looking to buy homes by STAFF REPORTER Returning South African expatriates could be a key pillar in the recovery of the market for higher-priced homes. According to Ronald Ennik, chief executive officer of Ennik Estates, SA expatriates - particularly those who have been living in the UK - could help the market recover. “In the wake of the eurozone debt crisis, and the employment and other uncertainty it has created, living and working abroad has lost its lustre for many expats,” says Ennik. Ennik says this is clearly mirrored in the uptick in buy enquiries they are receiving from South Africans wishing to come back home. While no statistics are officially available, Homecoming Revolution, a Johannesburg-based non-

profit organisation that encourages and assists expats to return, says it is receiving 120 enquiries a month from South Africans living abroad who wish to come home. “One of our partners, who specialises in car imports to South Africa has noted a 30 percent increase since August 2010 in the number of South Africans wanting to ship their vehicles back to South Africa,” says Brigitte BrittenKelly, managing executive of Homecoming Revolution. Most of the returnees are leaving the UK where they have lived for the past 10 years or more and are now finding the economy a strain. Many are also coming home from Australia and Dubai, she says. Britten-Kelly says they are generally aged between 30 and 40, with young families, and are looking for a better

standard of living for their children. “Luxury homes in South Africa are well-priced right now from a foreign investment perspective,” says Ennik. Ennik says given that returning expats are bringing hard foreign currency into

a favourable exchange rate climate, they are generally spoilt for choice in an upper home price band that offers them high value and potential return for the pounds, euros and dollars they invest in their new homes here. Among the biggest factors

driving their return to South Africa is the explosive economic growth taking place in sub-Saharan Africa, with South Africa not only its gateway, but also the region’s leading investment destination, he adds.


Rent with an option to buy property by STAFF REPORTER There are several good reasons to pay a deposit when you buy a home - among them the fact that you will have a smaller bond repayment to make each month and that you will save a mint in interest over the life of your home loan. However, with property prices and interest rates at their current lows, many buyers who feel they can comfortably afford a monthly loan instalment really don’t want to wait until they have saved up a deposit before getting into the market. So what should they do, especially when most banks are still very sticky about granting 100 percent bonds? “Well, one answer is to rent a home now from an owner who is prepared to give you an option to buy it later at a pre-agreed price,” says Berry Everitt, MD of the Chas Everitt International property group. This is not so unlikely as it sounds, he says, as many homeowners are only renting out their properties at the moment because they have

APRIL 2012

not been able to sell. “There are those who would be very happy to have the prospect of a sale at the end of a lease with rental income in the meantime from financially-sound tenants who also have an incentive to keep the property in good repair because it is going to become their own. Everitt says the advantage of such an arrangement for the prospective buyer/tenant is that the contract will usually provide for him to buy the property at a pre-agreed price at the end of the lease or sooner – therefore fixing the price while allowing sufficient time to save up a deposit. In addition, he says landlords looking forward to a sale at the end of the lease period might charge a lower rental or perhaps even allow a portion of the monthly rent to be offset against the agreed purchase price. This, he adds, would provide the tenant with a ‘readymade’ deposit at the end of the lease if he purchases it.

The Taj Residences boasts bedrooms with attached terraces that lead out to stunning views of Table Mountain.

Luxury in Cape Town city: Taj Residences on sale by STAFF REPORTER One of Cape Town’s most exclusive luxury hotels, the Taj has unveiled a number of studio, one and two bedroomed residences for sale with Seeff appointed as the sole agent. The units are priced from R2.99 million for a studio to R6.35 million for a two bedroomed residence. Each is spacious and opulently furnished to the Taj Group’s highest international standard and attention to detail. There has been significant

interest in the hotel suite market, says Seeff City Bowl managing director Ian Slot, and since unveiling these in mid-2011, a number of units have already sold. The fully serviced apartments are spacious with en-suite bathrooms with oversized bath tubs and showers as well as a living and dining area and kitchenette. Sit-out balconies offer views of Table Mountain or St Georges Mall, he adds. Owners have access to hotel facilities such as a spa, fitness

centre with a heated pool, three restaurants and a cigar lounge. Chauffeured airport and city transfers, welcome drinks, evening canapés and cocktails, daily international newspapers, use of a boardroom, a 24-hour butler service, in-room dining, daily housekeeping and laundry services are further benefits for owners. For further information please contact Seeff City Bowl, Warren Emett on +27 82 749 7166 or you can email



R6 750 000

cape town cbD

THE PRIDE OF BELVEDERE Bedrooms 4 Bathrooms 3 Garages 4 WEB 262670 In a quiet cul-de-sac. Unobscured sea and mountain views and an abundance of accommodation! Suits a large and or extended family. Separate flatlet. [O] +27 21 785 2035 DALE GREMELS +27 82 539 9393

simon’s town

R4 250 000



Bedrooms 2 Bathrooms 2 Garages 2 WEB 260322 Mini Kirstenbosch garden. Double Plot. Awesome sea vistas. “Out of Africa” stoep. Permitations of usage. North-facing. Walk to Boulders and town square. [O] +27 21 786 5393 BRETT M COOPER +27 72 277 3308

1 and 2 Bedrooms with Parking 10 Spectacular residences available in the Taj Hotel. Full of heritage, these beautiful apartme


R2 400 000

[O] +21 423 9146 WARREN EMETT +27 82 749 7166

plettenbeRg bay

R5 975 000



Bedrooms 3 Bathrooms 2 Garage 1 WEB 242281 Golden oldie with great views. Wooden beams, sash windows, open-plan gourmet kitchen, large lounge with fireplace, study, extra room as TV/family room. + Full flatlet. [O] +27 44 382 5919 LIVIANA AUDIBERT +27 82 500 2259

Bedrooms 4 Bathrooms 5.5 Garages 2 WEB 259106 Sea and Robberg views from all three levels. Modern, with beautiful finishes. Spacious bedrooms and bathrooms (all en-suite). Secluded garden, Lock-up driveway. [O] +27 44 533 0311 MONTY PEET +27 83 444 3310

SA’s preferred home of more than 33 000 properties for sale and rent.

FRom R2 995 000

DainFeRn valley

R7 800 000

OPULENCE PREVAILS IN THIS BEAUTIFUL MAJESTIC HOME Bedrooms 5 Bathrooms 5 Garages 3 WEB 262106 2 930m . Overlooking a greenbelt park, Bali prevails, double volume entrance, 4 formal receptions, lounge with fireplace, diningroom room, TV room, guest suite, scullery etc. [O] +27 11 784 1222 NICOLE COTTLE +27 72 412 3698


R5 250 000 neg


ents are convenient and well sought-after.

la lucia

R9 750 000

Bedrooms 5 Bathrooms 3 Garages 3 WEB 262249 Light & bright, easy flowing contemporary. On over half-acre. Pool and court. 4 Upstairs bedrooms, downstairs guest suite. Private & secure. [O] +27 11 784 1222 DOUG MCMEEKING +27 82 549 1248 | GARETH ROBERTSON +27 79 318 6733


R2 900 000



Bedrooms 4 Bathrooms 4 Garages 2 WEB 131852 Magnificent home of 600m2. Large entertainment areas including a formal dining-room and large bar area. Spacious bedrooms with breath-taking sea-views. Finishes of the highest standard. [O] +27 31 561 1090 BRETT BOTSIS +27 84 583 1961

Bedrooms 5 Bathrooms 3 Reception Rooms 5 Garages 3 WEB 254277 Superb position, “work from home”. Study, library for teaching academy, medical practice etc. All rooms lead to patio, pool, jacuzzi etc. + 40m² flat. Excellent security. [O] +27 12 452 2500 BIXIE VAN SCHALKWYK +27 82 553 0084

SA’s preferred home of more than 33 000 properties for sale and rent.


Lighting for living rooms by ANTONELLA DESI Using light to create atmosphere and set the mood is one of the most affordable and effective means of transforming a well decorated, but otherwise lifeless room. Make the most of ceiling lights Usually, living rooms are equipped with a central lighting point in the ceiling. Using a traditional halfshade in this position creates a harsh, monotonous light that does nothing to show off the attractive features of a space nor to disguise any less attractive features. There are a number of ways to avoid this problem without having to spend a great deal of money. For instance, try extending the central flex and looping it through a ceiling hook – this will give you scope to hang a pendant light wherever you choose, perhaps over a dining table or in a corner over a sofa for example. Downlights are another good solution – basically a downlight is a fixed, downward-pointing spot that is most often recessed into the ceiling. A central group or a linear row of these will provide excellent, even illumination. Downlights are especially


useful for visually lowering a high ceiling and, if you can position them more freely, they can be used to highlight various features and artworks in your living space. Spotlights and track lights are also a very affordable solution – they are versatile and if you fit a cluster of them in place of one central light, they can be angled to direct the light where it is most needed. Spots can be aimed directly at an object for a dramatic effect. They can also be angled at walls, ceilings or mirrors to make a small room seem larger or a dark room seem brighter, and are great when used for task lighting. An incredibly inexpensive way of softening the effect of a single central light is to use one of the many shapes of large, paper lampshades. These create a virtually glare-free, two dimensional light. Light shining from the hole at the top of the shade bounces off the ceiling, forming a pool of brightness, while light through the shade diffuses gently over the room. However, if the effect is to be maintained the shade will need regular dusting. Ceiling light systems can be made even more flexible by installing a dimmer switch at

the main control. These are simple and inexpensive to fit, and they allow the light to be adjusted from full strength to a cosy glow with many subtle moods in between. Wall lights and sidelights More flexible than ceiling lights, a combination of wall and portable lights can be tailored to suit the whole family’s needs. Wall lamps provide good background lighting, but are best installed when you are redecorating, as the supply wires will need to be chased into the wall behind the plaster. Concealed strip lights in wall units, above and below book shelves, under pelmets or alcoves for example, are a subtle source of background lighting and provide an attractive carpet of light down the wall. Mounted strip lights can also be used to highlight pictures or wall ornaments. Freestanding table or shelf lamps can also help create a well-balanced lighting design, especially when used in conjunction with standard pendant, wall or floor lights. If you want to avoid highlighting the wall, choose one of the low-level lamps with a translucent “mushroom-shaped” shade – these cast pools of warm,

subdued light down onto the table for alternating the mood of a room. Portable lights There is no need to lose the subtle effect of your noncentral lighting scheme when one of the family want to read, sew or do anything that

requires a more direct light source. Portable or standard lamps can provide a good directional light that is perfect for task lighting. These lights can also be moved around easily, which makes them incredibly versatile.

APRIL 2012


Buyers’ rights for new developments


would like to purchase a new development in Johannesburg that will be completed next year. As the apartment isn't complete yet, I was interested in what rights I have if the developer includes or omits fixtures that were not originally listed.


efore you buy a home “offplan” from a developer or a speculative builder, you must make sure that your sale agreement is individualised and specifies all the fixtures and fittings you want in as much detail as possible – and be prepared to perhaps pay more for any items that are not on the “standard” building plan on offer. For example, if you want to add a shower to a bathroom where there was only a bath on plan, your contract must say so, and you may have to pay for it. Other variations that buyers often request are additional plug points and light fittings, tiles instead of carpets in some areas and additional built-in cupboards. In other words, it is essential that you study the building plans and basic specifications very

carefully before you decide to buy into any new development - and that you do not rely on what you see in a show home, as these are often bigger and finished to a higher standard than the actual units to be built. On the other hand, if the developer or someone representing him (like an estate agent) makes promises to you in order to induce you to sign a sale agreement, you do have rights in terms of the Consumer Protection Act which came into effect last year. You may be promised, for example, that certain items that you don’t like will be removed or exchanged for something else, or that certain things that you do want will be provided, “no problem”. If these promises are then not kept, you can report the matter to the Consumer

Commission, which has the power to order the developer to rectify things and even to impose a fine for misleading marketing. However, unless you have

've heard that I could face difficulties buying a property in South Africa without a credit rating in South Africa. What kind of issues are likely to arise and what are my potential solutions?

criteria and we recommend that you contact an expert in home finance such as ooba ( for further assistance. If you are a cash buyer, however, there will be no difficulties.

better to rely on a detailed, individualised sale contract. Berry Everitt CEO of the Chas Everitt International property group

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things in writing, it could be very difficult for you to prove that the developer or agent actually did give you any undertaking to vary the standard plan, so it is still far

Track Record

QI Properties has sold over 280 UK residential investment properties at an average discount of 25%. This equates to over £32 million worth of property sold. There are many more that can be viewed on request. Testimonials are also available from investors on request.


assume from the question that you are living abroad and would require an element of finance in order to purchase a property. Most South African mortgage lenders that look at applications for finance will look for the following: Non-Resident clients not residing or working in South Africa, South African Citizens working abroad, as well as Non Residents purchasing jointly with South African Citizens. There are various criteria required by the lenders and the maximum loan to value is on average 50 percent. Each bank has different

APRIL 2012

Limited Opportunities Available! Email to book a call back

Billy Rautenbach Chief Operating Officer Seeff Atlantic Seaboard, City Bowl, V & A Marina and CBD

Earlsfield Business Centre, 9 Lydden Road, London, SW18 4LT Tel: +44 (0) 208 875 2070| Fax: +44 (0) 207 160 9333 | Robby Du Toit


South African Property Monthly – April Issue  

View the online edition of this month’s SA Property Monthly.

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