BUDGET COMMENTS BY DR ANDREW GOLDING

Commenting on the national Budget speech, Dr Andrew Golding, CE of the Pam Golding Property group says the ongoing emphasis on job creation, education, infrastructural improvements and economic growth and development is positive, coupled with initiatives regarding renewable energy and a ‘greener’ economy.

“We also welcome the tax breaks introduced in regard to manufacturing investment, which will also provide a stimulus for the economy, and increased investment in housing, residential infrastructure and services and some tax relief for the man in the street. However with rising fuel, transport, food, health and other costs, consumers remain cash-strapped and the announcement of an increase of 10 a litre for the general levy on both petrol and diesel and an eight cents a litre increase in the Road Accident Fund levy is regretted, as this will have an inflationary impact across the economy, particularly as oil prices are already on the increase and further fuel price hikes are anticipated.

"From a property perspective, given the fact that aspiring home owners are faced with numerous  costs when acquiring a home, including ever-increasing rates and electricity costs, while we welcome the increase in the transfer duty threshold from R500 000 to R600 000, naturally  we had hoped it would be a more significant increase. The cost of purchasing a home is a major investment and considerable cost for most people and a significant reduction in the transfer duty would contribute towards making home ownership more affordable and within the reach of consumers - particularly first time buyers. We do welcome, however the announcement that government will explore an incentivised savings scheme for first time home buyers, and look forward to further details regarding this. On our wish-list for this year’s Budget was for mortgage payments to be tax deductible for home owners, as is the case in some overseas countries and perhaps this could be considered for first time buyers,” says Dr Golding.

Commenting on the residential property market in general Dr Golding says South Africa’s property market continues to experience signs of recovery as a result of the sustained reduction in interest rates, gradual improvement in bank lending criteria and generally more positive economic outlook, both locally and internationally.

“To a large extent our residential property market still takes its cue from local economic sentiment but is significantly influenced by the prognosis in international markets, specifically growth in China and stability in North America, UK and central Europe.
“Over the past 12 months improved buyer activity, evidenced by increased attendance at both show houses and on-line enquiries, is an encouraging sign that the bottom of the economic cycle has been reached and that a platform for recovery is in place. It is particularly pleasing to note more interest being shown at the top end of the market which for the past 18-24 months has been unusually quiet.

“An increasingly evident trend reveals that today’s astute investors are looking to the property sector not only to diversify their investment portfolios and achieve sound capital growth in the medium to long term, but also in order to realise the maximum income potential from such investments,” says Dr Golding.

Issued by Gaye de Villiers
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