Property 24/10 - 535

14 January 2021 00:00

This week on SA rental numbers 'exploding - and not all in the right direction'; vital items to check off your list to get the best out of your home insurance; and how to save costs when building your own new home.

SA rental numbers 'exploding - and not all in the right direction'
Income, or rather the lack thereof, has been a major contributor to tenants’ early cancellation of lease agreements, the drying up of demand in 2020, and pushing up of vacancies. TPN, South Africa's largest credit bureau to specialise in vetting tenants for rental properties, predicts negative rental escalation as a climb in vacancies forces landlords to negotiate decreased rentals.

"The numbers are exploding, but not in a good way," says Managing Director Michelle Dickens in the latest TPN Vacancy Survey for Q4 of 2020 - which reveals a market in excess. South Africa, with a total population of 17.2 million households, has rapidly risen by 29% over 10 years. Tenants increased to 3,7 million households renting – a growth of 33% over 10 years. "And yet, out on the streets, landlords are experiencing increased vacancies, pushing up to 12.91% in the final quarter of 2020," says Dickens.

A quick tally of the numbers by TPN shows that 3.7 million households live in rented accommodation with 3 million households renting formal housing. Two million households rent a house, flat, apartment, cluster, townhouse or semidetached dwelling; and just under 1 million households rent a backyard house, flat or room, granny flat or SQ. Leaving 762 thousand households who rent traditional or informal dwellings. "To put it bluntly, there is no shortage of demand for housing," says Dickens.

Check these vital items off your list and get the best out of your home insurance
The new year is in full swing already, but for those who enjoyed a festive break, holding on to that holiday feeling might be quite tempting. Procrastinating can be peaceful to a point but delaying some important upgrades to your insurance cover could become quite a depressing reality check.

“Visiting restaurants and partaking in other leisure activities are somewhat restricted or different with masks and the like, so some of our leisure spending has perhaps shifted towards making home the happiest place it can be,” says Bertus Visser, Chief Executive of Distribution at PSG Insure.

With the ever-increasing cost of living, homeowners may be reassessing their financial situation and looking at ways to save money and cut down on costs. Ideally, homeowners should review their insurance policies as part of an annual financial assessment – as the value of your home and the content therein changes in value each year.

Thus it makes sense that your insurance cover should be adjusted accordingly.

How to save costs when building your own new home
The unfortunate reality is that there has been an increase in the number of distressed property sales owing to the lockdown and a rising unemployment rate. While interest rate cuts provided a ‘massive stimulus’ to the market, demand has slowed as signs of consumer distress start filtering through.

The Department of Human Settlements recently announced that it would be moving away from the construction of houses for poor families to the provision of serviced stands and support measures that will hopefully encourage and enable a much greater number of people to build their own homes. Every homeowner should check if the building plans are available as soon as possible, and that these correspond in all respects with the building as it now is - and this is compliant with the building regulations.

To be fully compliant, Alexander Swart, Director of Alexander Swart Property, says the seller or the buyer has to be able to show that the building was awarded an Occupation Certificate, confirming that the construction was done in accordance with the approved plans and the regulations pertaining at that time.

To qualify for such certificates, the building will have had to be inspected at specified stages by a licensed building inspector. The same process should have been followed with any subsequent alterations or extensions, says Alexander.