Countering the rise of property scammers

Jun 12, 2018 9:46:43 PM Share this:

Countering the rise of property scammers


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Topics: Richard Gray, Harcourts South Africa, Tips for Agents, Real Estate Agents, Scam Alert

Home loan approvals hit best levels in a decade in SA

Jun 4, 2018 10:43:41 PM Share this:

Banks are showing an increased appetite to lend according to first quarter (Q1 2018) property statistics recently released by home loan originator Ooba.


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Topics: Richard Gray, Property Markets, South African Homeloans

Increased lending positive for property market

May 2, 2018 10:54:48 PM Share this:
Statistics released by bond originator, ooba, in their latest "oobarometer" for the first quarter of 2018, reflecting banks increased willingness to lend money is fantastic news for the real estate market in South Africa.  

According to ooba  in the first quarter of 2018 they recorded the highest home loan approval rate in over ten years since the National Credit Act was implemented. With an increase of 4.9% compared to the first quarter of 2017.

These figures are certainly reflected in the market we're experiencing. This improved lending appetite will play a particularly important role influencing consumer confidence. After the market fluctuations and economic instability of 2017 the stabilization of 2018 thus far is reinforcing buyer interest and much needed investment activity. The current political climate continues to re-instill hope in the broader economy.

Another exciting sentiment shared by the report states that banks are increasingly more willing to lend the full value of a property without requiring a deposit. The average deposit over the entire market decreased by 6.4% year-on-year. For many first-time buyers the need for a sizeable deposit and stricter lending criteria implemented over the past few years greatly influenced the decision to buy. Having to apply for another loan to cover the deposit amount might put affordability of the home out of reach.

There are still corners of the market that remain under pressure and will continue to do so, however with the information emanating from ooba's report, both buyers and sellers are expected to benefit from this improved activity.

From a holistic perspective we're definitely dealing with a buyer's market, yet with banks letting go of the reigns more buyers will enter the market and create greater demand which ultimately leads to a far more beneficial environment for everyone.

Statement by
Richard Gray
Harcourts Africa Chief Executive Officer
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Topics: Richard Gray, Harcourts South Africa, Property Markets, Buyers market, Ooba

Avoiding the impact of VAT on your property payments

Apr 10, 2018 9:24:49 PM Share this:

A lot has been said about the increase in VAT from 14% to 15% as announced by the Finance Minister in his recent budget speech. There are certainly many sectors that are going to feel the shift in tax, however it might be the man and woman on the street who will be hit hardest.

Unfortunately consumers are directly impacted by tax increases due to our participation in a multitude of industries. We’re economically active and as purchasers of an array of products and services we feel the knock on effects of the suppliers. Who have to make changes in order to buffer the impact on their businesses.

Undoubtedly for the tenant and home owner food costs, as well as recent petrol price hikes, will influence affordability and budgets. For some the VAT increase might only be a few rand, for others it could be thousands.

It is imperative that you start adjusting and analysing the potential impact different expenditure increases will have on your budget. It is always better to be prepared than caught by surprise and then being forced to make last minute changes.

By having insight into budget amendments you will have the advantage of adjusting certain payments to account for increases. Cut down on unnecessary and wasteful expenses so that you continue being able to pay your bills or even fortunately save a little every month.

If you’re renting - now might be the best time to consider purchasing a property. With interest rates cut by 25 basis points, bringing the repo rate to 6.5% and the prime lending rate of banks to 10%, your value on monthly property expenditure might be more in your favour if you buy now.


Statement by
Richard Gray
Harcourts Africa Chief Executive Officer


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Topics: Richard Gray, Harcourts South Africa, Financial Year End, Property Markets, Vat Increase

Repo rate good news for the property market

Apr 3, 2018 8:43:22 PM Share this:

The decision by South Africa’s Reserve Bank to cut its repo rate by 25 basis points to 6.5%, after the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting today,  Wednesday, March 28, will provide much needed relief to the consumer who is generally highly indebted. The knock-on affects of this rate cut should take the prime lending rate of banks to 10%. International ratings agency Moody's stable outlook for South Africa certainly influenced this decision by the MPC.

We believe this signals the turning point in the interest rate cycle. With the Rand relatively strong and inflation at its lowest level for several years, this is hopefully the first of a few cuts in 2018.

South Africans have experienced continuous economic pressures in recent times. Consumers have been in a price pinch with rising costs, increased taxes, heightened unemployment and economic instability.

So, in short, the repo rate cut is very good news. There will definitely be a direct impact on reduced repayments with regards to household debt. Furthermore, we predict an increase in consumer confidence and real estate demand over the short to medium term.

Increased consumer confidence influences a multitude of other markets and sectors and with increased economic activity from a holistic perspective South Africa's path to further economic stability becomes a closer beacon.

Creating favourable conditions for investors and buyers to enter the market is a priority. An environment conducive to financial and economic positivity ensures there are more entrants from a larger diversity of backgrounds. In addition, for those who are already active in the market this translates into higher investment returns and a far reaching trust in the country's economic stability.

Statement by
Richard Gray
Harcourts Africa Chief Executive Officer


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Topics: Richard Gray, Harcourts South Africa, repo rate cut, repo rate

Harcourts South Africa 2018 Budget Reaction

Feb 22, 2018 11:03:09 PM Share this:

Overall it was a far more balanced budget speech than initially expected, with a focus on rebuilding, which is in line with the newly elected President Cyril Ramaphosa's messaging. However, Finance Minister Gigaba's announcement that there will be an increase in VAT from 14% to 15%, the first time VAT has been increased since 1993, will undoubtedly have a direct impact on the property market. VAT is payable on the transaction of a home purchase and in some cases included in the price of the home. Although one percent seems like a very slight increase, transactions like high value commercial properties or development investments might feel the increase far more than that of the middle to lower end of the market.

There is no doubt Government is experiencing shortfalls in their budget and lending might tighten up, therefore accumulation of funds has to originate from taxes. South Africans experiencing a price pinch with rising food costs, fuel costs and tax hikes might continue to be under financial pressure as more increases can be expected. This was noted in the speech as a 22c/litre increase in the general fuel levy, and a 30c/litre rise in the Road Accident Fund (RAF) levy was announced. South Africans will also be paying 52 cents more per litre for fuel from April 4. The effect of these tax hikes impacts the man on the street in a direct manner, and this might have an effect on the rental market on the lower end.

Statement by
Richard Gray
Harcourts Africa Chief Executive Officer


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Topics: Richard Gray, Harcourts South Africa, 2018 budget, Cyril Ramaphosa, economical news

Green' homes demand set to increase in 2018

Feb 22, 2018 6:37:49 PM Share this:

There has been a significant appreciation for sustainable living in South Africa over the past few months as a major global city faces serious water challenges. The support by the private sector and residents has shown the dedication we as people have to the sustainability of our communities and families. The dire situation in Cape Town, which now has all hands on deck to avoid 'Day Zero' has showcased the demand for homes that are geared toward environmental preservation.

The global shift toward building green economies will continue to be a hot topic in 2018 and years to come. As we as societies start embracing the need for change in other aspects of our lives the importance of ensuring our foundation, our homes, are aligned with these practices will become more frequent. We see the evolution of new developments, residential and commercial building as well as home renovations changing the landscape of these industries. One such example was last year's Nedbank Corporate and Investment Banking (NCIB) first disbursement from an innovative R120 million Sustainable Affordable Housing finance facility that was put in place through the collaborative efforts of Nedbank’s Affordable Housing Development Finance division, and South Africa’s Green Fund.

In the affordable and low-cost housing segments we've already seen a major push by government to incorporate solar installations to homes. This obviously also is an attempt to reduce demand from the electricity grid which we've known has experienced difficulty in recent years.

There has certainly been an increase in demand for 'green' homes by first-time buyers. Our understanding implies that our younger audience have a greater desire to live sustainable lives and that paired with this innate need is affordability.  In a country where consumers often experience a price pinch between increased rates, input costs and expenses versus income, saving on home expenses can relieve a lot of pressure.

For South African property owners, the experience of power outages, environmental threats and escalating electricity tariffs make green solutions such as solar power a practical consideration. Although greening a building – whether building new or renovating – can be expensive, the savings in future operational costs invariably make the initial investment worthwhile.

Statement by
Richard Gray
Harcourts Africa Chief Executive Officer


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Topics: Richard Gray, Harcourts South Africa, Enviromental Concerns, Green Buildings, Solar Power, economical news

Zuma resignation will have a definite positive effect on the property market

Feb 16, 2018 5:50:22 PM Share this:

Former President Jacob Zuma's resignation yesterday evening propelled investor confidence back into positive territory. The Rand has already gained a lot of ground in the past few weeks and as it continues to strengthen it might relieve some of the price pressure the South African consumer has been experiencing.

There is no doubt that the political climate in South Africa and Government related activities have influenced our economy. Local investors as well as foreign investors, both buyers and sellers, have been gun shy in certain markets and at times apprehensive to invest, especially in the residential rental market.

Traditionally property defies a lot of the immediate reactions due to its long term nature, however the commercial and rental markets might react more sharply to these changes. There is also a good chance we'll see increased activity in flat markets and a renewed interest from buyers and sellers alike. When a stable and growing economy has the ability to set a tone that puts the activity in the market at ease opportunities are created from areas of the economy previously dampened by rhetoric and legislation amendments that threatened property ownership .

These shifts in Government have been received positively to a large extent by international markets, as we saw Emerging Market experts from Wall Street in the U.S. predict positive changes for South Africa. This will do wonders for our foreign investment market as perceptions and media opinions certainly influence the external view of local trading.

It is important to note though that there are still many political and fiscal challenges and by no means are we immediately saved by the former President's resignation. However, it is the optimism of a renewed commitment to growth and stability that South Africans so desperately need.


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Topics: Richard Gray, Harcourts South Africa, Property Markets, Jacob Zuma, Zuma Resignation