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9 hours 56 minutes ago

 

The South African property market has shown a remarkable recovery following the Deeds Office closure during the second quarter of 2020, reflecting the same levels of activity pre-pandemic.

According to Lightstone Property data, a total of 44 885 bond registrations were recorded at the Deeds Office between October and December 2020. The RE/MAX National Housing Reports reveal that this figure is less than eighty registrations shy from the number of bonds that were registered in 2019’s fourth quarter and this is a considerable correction on the mere 5 792 bond registrations that occurred during the hard lockdown during 2020’s second quarter.

Beyond this, the number of transfers (bonded and unbonded) recorded at the Deeds Office between October to December 2020 amounted to 61 749*, just 2% lower than the number of transfers recorded during 2019’s fourth quarter. This is a massive improvement on the second quarter’s dismal 3 869 transfers. Compared to 2020’s third quarter, the figure grew by 28%.

Sectional titles versus freehold properties

Of the 61 749 transfers, a total of 30 167* freehold properties and 16 288* sectional title units were sold countrywide (these figures exclude estates, farms, and land only transfers). The number of freehold properties registered decreased by a mere 1% year-on-year, increasing by 22%, quarter-on-quarter and showing a near full recovery from the 3 869 that were recorded in the second quarter of 2020. Sectional titles showed an even faster recovery from the 1 105 registered sales in the second quarter of 2020. The figure increased by 2% year-on-year and 28% quarter-on-quarter.

Slowed house price recovery

According to Lightstone, the fourth quarter’s national median price of sectional titles is R991 006 and the national median price for freehold homes is R1 187 964.

The RE/MAX National Housing Report reveals that, for the fourth consecutive quarter, the prices of sectional titles*, have dropped year-on-year. While the fourth quarter is still slowly recovering from the R953 084 that was reported in the second quarter of 2020, it has shown an increase of 2% when compared to the third quarter and these figures reflect a 3% drop when compared to 2019’s fourth quarter.

Lightstone reveals that the average bond amount granted during this period amounted to R1 203 000. The RE/MAX National Housing Reports reflect that this is an increase of 8% since the last quarter and of 8% since 2019’s fourth quarter.

Shifts in market segment performance

Historically, sales below R400 000 accounted for the largest portion of all transfers. However, this quarter reflected an interesting change; sales priced between R800 000 and R1.5 million now account for the largest portion at 28%* of all transfers occurring during the fourth quarter of 2020.

Coming in behind this figure were transactions between R400 000 – R800 000 which make up 24.5%* of the total transfers. This is followed by sales priced below R400 000 which now account for just 22.9%* of all transfers in the fourth quarter.

Sales between R1,5 million to R3 million accounted for 19%* and those priced above R3 million account for 5.6%* of the total transfers this quarter.

When reviewing each market segment in isolation, the number of transfers between R1,5 million to R3 million has grown the most by 33% on the figures from 2019’s fourth quarter. This is followed by the number of transfers that occurred above the R3 million price point, growing by 15% year-on-year; transfers between R800,000 – R1,5 million grew by 14% year-on-year.

Showing a decrease in the number of transfers when compared to 2019’s fourth quarter, sales below R400,000 dropped by 31% year-on-year and those between R400,000-R800,000 shrunk by 7% year-on-year.

In general, the increase in sales after lockdown in the metropolitan areas largely occurred within the middle- to lower-income markets: areas where people who rented before could now afford to buy. This in part explains why the R800,000 – R1,5 million market made up the largest proportion of transfers. Across the country there has also been an upsurge in the number of enquiries made by those who are searching to relocate to the coast now that they are able to work remotely, which could possibly explain why there was an increase in the number of transfers that occurred over the R1.5 million price point,” explains Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, Adrian Goslett.

Market performance per province

The top five searched suburbs nationally on remax.co.za during 2020’s fourth quarter were Musgrave, KwaZulu-Natal, with 2893 searches; Morningside, Gauteng, with 2701 searches; Essenwood, KwaZulu-Natal, with 2383 searches; Parklands, Western Cape, with 2088 searches; and lastly Brackenhurst, Gauteng, with 1931 searches.

According to Private Property data, the median asking price for the North West saw the highest quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year growth and amounted to R1.4 million. The only province to reflect a decline was Gauteng at a median asking price of R1,372,689. Despite remaining without growth quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year, the Western Cape’s median asking price remains the highest at R2,499,000.

Despite the renewed activity and unprecedented recovery, the South African property market has enjoyed in 2020, I predict that house price appreciation will remain low for 2021 because of the financial pressure many households will feel owing to ongoing economic challenges brought about by the pandemic. The 2021 market presents as many opportunities as it does challenges. Those who can afford to invest in real estate now will stand to make substantial long-term returns on their investment,” Goslett concludes.

9 hours 56 minutes ago

 

Concor (formerly Murray & Roberts Construction) has completed a fast-track Covid-19 facility at Jubilee Hospital in Hammanskraal, north of Pretoria, using innovative technology. The facility was handed over on the 27th of November 2020, with work commencing on the site some five months earlier.

The turnkey project handed over ten modular units to the Gauteng Department of Health, adding another 300 beds to care for Covid-19 patients. The facility comprises of five 25-bed intensive care unit (ICU) modules complete with a two-bed isolation ward and five 35-bed high care modules.

Rui Santos, senior contracts direct at Concor, says the company already started completing modules from mid-October (excluding commissioning). The modular approach was chosen so that the units could be completed and put into operation while others were still being constructed.

This has certainly been a demanding project in terms of its timeframe,” Santos says. “However, by applying the appropriate technologies alongside our extensive experience, we met deadlines while complying with national building standards and without compromising safety or quality.”

Covid-19 lockdown regulations did not slow the project down. Almost all the required meetings and collaborations before and during the project were conducted remotely with all players fully committed to the new ways of working.

The brief from the implementing agent – the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development – called for alternative construction materials to reduce the timeframe of the project. After considering different options, Concor decided on Futurecon’s light frame steel with prefabricated panels.

To assist in the fast-tracking of the process, the panels are cladded on site and were quickly followed by roof truss installation,” Santos says. “This opened up the opportunity to get the services installed much earlier than would have been possible using conventional brick-and-mortar methods. This process was facilitated by a specialised team making up the frames on site and erecting them there and then, allowing greater control of sequencing and pace of work.”

The project schedule was maintained from the earthworks stage despite encountering poor ground conditions, groundwater, existing buildings, and large boulders in some areas of the site. Various underground services had to be located and rerouted before the raft slabs could be cast.

“A flexible working approach served us well under these conditions,” he says. “Where our ground preparations demanded more time, we were able to refocus activity on another cluster – making good progress elsewhere to keep everything on track.”

The ICU and high care modules each consist of two separate wings with a central nurse’s station, sluice, and ablutions, with central utility areas for offices, storage areas and waiting area. It was vital for the rapid roll-out of the project that the appropriate wet services and ventilation systems were selected to allow all mechanical services to be commissioned on a standalone basis. They also needed to accommodate future expansion as required.

The design brief incorporated a combination of field hospital standards and the usual Infrastructure Unit Support Systems (IUSS) requirements. According to Courtney Hart, architect at Osmond Lang Architects & Planners, the new modules were also designed with their future use in mind – providing a lifespan beyond the Covid-19 pandemic.

While satisfying the need for a 300-bed Covid-19 facility, the facility can be used for more general hospital purposes going forward,” says Hart. The current design prioritises the intensive care that Covid-19 patients will require, and the ways that clinicians must conduct their procedures, including visual and physical access to the patients. Compliance with the various national standards was ensured as a matter of course, including SANS10400 regarding energy use and SANS10252 for water supply and drainage installations.

Keeping up the speed of construction meant implementing a double-shift schedule, ensuring work continued almost 24 hours a day. To maintain the necessary momentum, Concor strengthened its core complement of employees, making for an on-site workforce at peak – including subcontractors – of 350 to 400 people. Moving materials and panels was facilitated with a couple of telehandlers, but the results were achieved with little need for specialised construction equipment or cranes.

1 day ago

 

Akani Properties, a 100% black-owned property development, management, and investment company, has won a bid to develop a R350 million hotel and conference facility in Middelburg, a growing mining and farming town in the Steve Tshwete Local Municipality in Mpumalanga.

The 150-key room hotel and 1000-seater capacity conference centre will boast all the facilities that a discerning business traveller and leisure tourist expect from a modern high-end development. The total capital expenditure will be funded through a combination of debt (20%) and equity (80%).

It is estimated that on completion, a minimum of 200 full time operational jobs will be created with the residents of the municipality receiving preference for many of these employment opportunities.

The development has been part of the municipal development plan and strategy of the STML since 2014, following hot on the heels of the launch of a R950 million OR Tambo Radisson hotel and conference precinct in Kempton Park by Akani in October last year.

Middleburg, which has been growing steadily over the past few years – due to the mining industry and related industries – matches our investment strategy and criteria. We believe this investment will offer our investors sustainable returns in the long term while also making lasting socio-economic contributions in Middleburg” commented Zamani Letjane, Managing Director of Akani Properties.

With the Covid-19 heath crisis negatively impacting economic activity in the short term, we see infrastructure investments – either in social or economic infrastructure assets – as one of the mitigating interventions and a sustainable way of growing peri urban economies.”

Akani’s investment strategy focusses on developing hospitality, retail, and office property assets in the secondary and peri-urban cities by creating sustainable shareholder returns, empower local companies and contribute to job creation.

The hotel will boast standard rooms to suites, conference facility, SPA, gym facilities, fully licensed restaurant, and bar, among other features.

With the growth of its economy, a need was identified for a hotel in the Middleburg area and the Municipality conducted a bidding process for the sale of its open land. This project is particularly key as it will be the first hotel of this magnitude in the area.

Akani, as the developer, has secured commitment from a renowned international hotel operator to manage and operator the precinct. The operator has significant international and local presence to market and operate the precinct on behalf of the developer.

Construction is scheduled to commence in March 2021.

 

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