Against predictions of a slowing property market, US housing starts jumped
14,5 percent to a 33-year high in February, and the major factors that
brought this about are also reflected in the SA economy.
"Low interest rates, higher employment and continued economic growth are
underpinning the US housing market - and we are experiencing similar
economic conditions," says Gerhard Kotzé, CEO of the ERA South Africa
Kotzé, who has just returned from the annual business conference of the
multinational ERA group held in San Francisco, says the mood in the US is
upbeat, with delegates confident that the housing market bull run is far
"It's common cause that the housing market, with its huge multiplier effect,
has been one of the major factors in the continued growth of the US economy,
and right now, barring any major shock to the global economic system, the
short to medium term outlook for the US property market - and economy- is
"The lesson for South Africa is that the local housing market has to be
nurtured if we want to continue to see solid economic growth.
"Interestingly many US homebuilders have also been saying that they are
offering bigger incentives to lure new buyers into the market and we have
perhaps reached a similar stage in South Africa.
"And in keeping with that, it's arguably time for new Government incentives
in addition to the concessions on transfer duty announced in this year's.
"Here I am thinking along the lines of tax concessions on bond payments or
at least on the interest portion of bond costs, as applies in the UK and the
US, or perhaps even especially-reduced interest rates for home loans."
ERA International now has more than 40 000 agents worldwide. The annual
business conference was attended by more than 6000 delegates, and the
15-strong SA contingent included top agent Angeline van Tonder of ERA Brink
Brakpan and top brokers Chris and Renée Breytenbach of ERA Rustenburg.