Politics and finance will have a major influence on property in 2015

Chris Renecle, MD of Renprop, believes that politics and home loan lending by financial institutions will have the most impact on the South African property market during 2015

For residential property, 2014 has been a reasonable year that has seen an exceptional demand for sectional title properties from both investors and tenants, says Chris Renecle, MD of Renprop. “New developments have launched to sell out success in key areas throughout Johannesburg’s northern suburbs, and pent up demand in certain suburbs is expected to continue into the first half of 2015.”

Renecle points out that the continued demand for sectional title properties is underpinned by the lack of 100% bonds being approved for buyers, which is in turn boosting the buy-to-let and rental markets. Sectional title properties, he says, continue to grow in popularity as they provide an ideal environment for both investors and tenants. “This growth trend in sectional title properties is expected to continue,” he says.

However, Renecle points to politics and finance as the key drivers or disruptors of the property market as a whole for 2015. “The political landscape and home loan lending by financial institutions will have the biggest influence on the property market in the year ahead. We should be following the rest of the world in terms of property growth post recession, yet we are not. During the first six months of 2015 we would like to see a GDP growth rate in excess of 3%,” he says.

When it comes to the home loan lending environment, Renecle hopes that the financial institutions have realised their error in focusing so much on the unsecured loan market. “We hope that they will, despite Basal requirements, shift their focus to start lending more freely in the secured finance market.”

In terms of the commercial property market, Renecle hopes for an uptick in interest in 2015, with a reduction in vacancies in the office space sector, which is currently sitting at around 14%. “We are seeing a gravitation towards sectional title office space from small and medium enterprises who are looking to own their offices. This is usually a precursor to the market turning, however that will depend largely on what happens in political sphere in the months ahead.”

Industrial properties on the other hand, according to Renecle, are performing moderately well, a trend he expects will continue into the New Year.

The affordable housing market continues to be depressed due to a lack of affordability from bond applicants.

Overall, Renecle says that increasingly tough legislation around the property market coupled with inefficiency from the local, provincial and national authorities when it comes to building plan approvals and property rates issues will contribute to an already difficult business environment in the year ahead.

“Despite the lack of finance available to investors among the other challenges predicted for the year ahead, Renprop is set to follow on from its 2014 success with numerous sectional title developments in key areas throughout Johannesburg, and is scheduled to break ground together with its development partners on at least three new residential apartment buildings in the high demand areas of the northern Johannesburg region over the next few years,” says Renecle.

While its residential divisions will focus on the new developments in the pipeline and rental opportunities the current market presents, the other divisions within the Renprop group - from property and rental management to commercial property and the corporate short stay division - will continue to grow and diversify in the year ahead.

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