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There is still a very strong buying market

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PUT UP FOR SALE . . . Bains Game Lodge was among about 50 properties that were made available in Bloemfontein

We have been in the buyers’ market for over two years now, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some of the lowest interest rates for more than 40 years have resulted in a good demand across the board.

Interest rates are still so low that in most cases it is cheaper to buy than rent, certainly in the short to medium term.

What was really interesting was what happened when one large property owner decided to liquidate his Bloemfontein holding of flats and townhouses.

Usually when a large number of units come onto the market it depresses the market and it takes a long time for all the units to be sold.

In this case about 50 properties were made available, including Bains Game Lodge and Nottinghill plus another modern building in Navalsig.

The tenants jumped at the chance to buy, not only tenants living in the units but also other tenants living in the buildings.

Owners also showed real interest in buying extra units.

I found this quite interesting.

While low interest rates are a real motivating factor, the potential for inflation also helps.

While bond rates will rise, it is still not expected that they will be more than one percent or so higher at the end of the year.

But it is highly likely that rental rates will firm substantially now because students are back in class and the vacancy factor has reduced to near zero levels.

Apart from that, there has been very little development of new units over the past two to three years resulting in a real shortage of larger and better quality flats and apartments.

These factors are likely to see a larger than normal upward movement in the rentals of all types of flats and townhouses.

Buying your own flat to stay in rather than renting one really does make more sense, especially now given the low interest rates.

  • Mike Spencer is the founder and owner of Platinum Global. He is also a professional associated property valuer and consultant with work across the country as well as Eastern Europe and Australia.

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Property

Gas it out, give Eskom the boot

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ALTERNATIVE SOLUTION . . . Gas can be used for heating water, ovens and stoves in general

Electricity has simply become unaffordable. And, as if that’s not enough, it’s not always available.

In recent months, the power utility has been churning out media statements explaining the loss of generation at various power stations and pleading with consumers to use electricity sparingly.

While the updates are important, consumers naturally expect electricity to be available whenever they turn on the switch.

The recent tariff hike of over seven percent in Mangaung Metro has proved quite steep to most households and it might not be far-fetched to expect another round of hikes in the coming months.

I strongly believe it’s now time to seriously consider other practical solutions to end this double inconvenience of high prices and inavailabilty of electricity.

Alternatives like solar and gas could ease the problem quite significantly but it comes at a cost.

In fact, the installation costs might be quite discouraging, but once the systems are in place, there are no major expenses to be incurred – this including solar electricity, solar water heaters and gas.

Electrical geysers chew electricity while solar heaters are effective and efficient.

Natural gas is also a realistic alternative.

The system is cheaper to install by far and gas cylinders normally last for months.

Gas can be used for heating water, ovens and stoves in general.

Larger systems can also have central heating.

Gas is readily available and suppliers have delivery services for 10kg cylinders and above.

And unlike electricity, gas geysers only heat water on demand, which means that you don’t sit around with pre-heated water in your geyser.

It only heats on demand.

And when cooking, pans heat up quickly and, importantly, cool down when the gas is switched off.

It is a different type of heat and is great for making oven bread.

Worth a try!

  • Mike Spencer is the founder and owner of Platinum Global. He is also a professional associated property valuer and consultant with work across the country as well as Eastern Europe and Australia.

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Langenhoven Park chain store robbed

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SHOP ROBBERY . . . The Walk Centre in Langenhoven Park

Bainsvlei police in Bloemfontein have launched a manhunt for suspects involved in business robbery at a chain store at The Walk Centre in Langenhoven Park on Wednesday.

The complainant, who is the manager of the shop, told the police that two men walked into the shop pretending to be customers before robbing the shop.

“Suddenly they pulled out firearms and accosted the four cashiers and instructed them to walk back into the complainant’s office,” police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Thabo Covane said in a statement.

“The suspects robbed the shop of different brands of cellular telephones as well as an undisclosed amount of money, and fled the scene in a white Renault Clio with registration number HRT 558 FS,” he added.

Police were called to the scene and they are now investigating a case of business robbery.

Covane said anyone who might have information that could lead to the arrest of the suspects may contact Captain Thapelo Motseki on 082 466 8405 or call the SAPS Crime Stop number: 08600 10111. Alternatively, information can be sent via MySAPS App. – Staff Reporter

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Property

Duets are sectional title too

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A duet unit is by definition a two-unit sectional title scheme. Or at least is supposed to be.

However, I have seen these mini schemes with up to five units. Not sure how they get away with it.

Either way they are still mini sectional title schemes and have to be treated like their big brothers – but they aren’t.

Usually, each owner has their own rates account, own water and electricity account and just does their own thing. But that is where the complications come in.

Some owners have a bond and thus insurance. Some bought cash and forgot.

A body corporate is supposed to have a body corporate policy on all the buildings.

Let’s say that there is a fire in an insured unit but it also results in the building down of an uninsured unit.

And because this is a body corporate and all parties are trustees that are expected to have a body corporate policy, they will be equally negligent.

That means that the owner will have to pay 50 percent — or whatever the Participation Quota (PQ) ratio is — of the uninsured unit owner’s loss.

Would you like to be in that position? I don’t think so.

The same applies to maintenance.

So, if your neighbour thinks that his roof needs to be replaced, you will be liable for that same PQ part of the replacement cost.

The trouble is that nothing will happen while everyone is happy and things are running smoothly, but when there is a major problem, people look for solutions to their financial crisis.

It’s not worth it.

Run your mini scheme properly and contact Community Schemes Ombud Service if your neighbour won’t.

  • Mike Spencer is the founder and owner of Platinum Global. He is also a professional associated property valuer and consultant with work across the country as well as Eastern Europe and Australia.

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