What is the future of commercial and office property in Africa?
Around the world, the commercial occupier market is taking a fresh look at property: as an enabler for business, they expect their premises to create a conducive working environment that drives productivity while promoting employee wellness. Is the African property market delivering on these expectations?
"Africa is still in the early stages of this journey,” says Jonathan Turner, General Manager of Global Occupier Services Africa at Cushman & Wakefield Excellerate, but, he adds, just as there are areas where the sector is performing well in this regard, there are also areas for improvement.
“The younger generation now entering the workforce have an entirely different mindset to their predecessors,” Turner notes.
“Instead of simply functioning as a place of work, they expect their offices to provide an experience.”
'Land reform panic unnecessary': What you need to know
There is no doubt that there is great concern about land reform amongst ordinary South Africans, and especially property owners and buyers. At the same time, there is a huge amount of noise in the media and public discourse around this, often sending mixed messages.
In light of this, the Seeff Property Group has welcomed the clarity provided by President Ramaphosa in various media reports and in a recent parliamentary sitting that there will be no wide-scale land grabs of any kind. "He made it clear that there will be no nationalisation and that property rights will be protected, and that illegal land grabs will not be tolerated.
"The president again reiterated that expropriation will be done in a planned manner in pursuance of economic growth. This was also again echoed in the very important recent meeting between the president and UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, and during his visit to China."
How to qualify for a home loan if you’re self-employed
Buying property is the single largest investment most people ever make, and the majority will need finance in order to do so, but the already laborious home loan application process and its myriad criteria is even more painstaking for the self-employed.
This is according to Cheryl Zartz, Property Finance Specialist for Ooba, who says banks are more cautious about granting loans to self-employed home buyers, and they usually require deposits of up to 20%, as well as more documentation than salaried buyers who only need their salary advice and copies of their last three months’ bank statements.
“It is critical that these buyers take the time to familiarise themselves with exactly which documentation is required and what criteria must be met, preferably as far in advance as possible, as certain omissions or errors cannot be remedied overnight,” says Zartz.
SA buyers increasingly opting for ‘smaller’ homes
With more people working from home at least part of the time, the demand for properties with a study or home office space has increased - but if your home doesn’t have this extra space (or a guest suite or a second sitting room), you should not be too hasty in planning an addition or alteration before trying to sell it. This is according to Gerhard Kotzé, MD of the RealNet estate agency group, who says there is really no need to do so because there is currently good demand for well-priced smaller properties - especially among younger buyers who want to live in established suburbs close to good schools and workplaces, but have a limited budget. “In fact, adding on would in many cases make an otherwise perfect property too expensive for such buyers.” In addition, Kotzé says many younger buyers are truly concerned about the environment and are aiming to ‘live smaller’ in order to reduce their eco-impact. They prefer smaller homes that use less land and resources such as water, require fewer furnishings, cost less to run and produce less waste.