3 min read In a bid to reduce energy costs, the UK government last month, announced that it has scrapped VAT on energy-saving materials like solar panels, insulation, and heat pumps for the next five years. Could something similar work in South Africa?
3 min read Unconventional towns have suddenly become cool. Young buyers are finding properties in non-metro towns financially attractive. They want to take advantage of lower prices and enjoy the medium- to long-term growth that investing in property in these towns brings. What’s more, they’re also keen to benefit from the lifestyle that’s on offer – clean air, country living and a laid-back lifestyle.
3 min read Out of home (OOH) advertising (also referred to as outdoor advertising) is advertising that consumers may come across outside of their home. It includes billboards, posters and wallscapes.
3 min read Now that COVID-19 has changed in status from a pandemic to an endemic, many are reflecting on how they coped financially and spiritually when the disease was at its worst.
3 min read Walking through Xanadu Nature Estate and meeting its residents, you quickly realise that it has become the ideal ‘work-from-home’ location. This is not because residents working in Johannesburg and Pretoria are choosing not to make the 45-minute drive to the city, but rather because families are relocating from other parts of South Africa, like Cape Town and Durban, to create their home in Xanadu Nature Estate.
3 min read Dancing on the fringes of Hillcrest in KwaZulu-Natal, Cotswold Downs is the place to enjoy gorgeous views of the rolling hills and indigenous forest, world-class golfing, spectacular birdlife, and free-roaming antelope – all from the comfort of your home.
3 min read Did you know that someone is defrauded online every 32 seconds? According to Sharon Knowles from Da Vinci Forensics, residential estates are prime pickings for scammers.
3 min read Survival of our planet lies in alternatives to conventional energy generation, which relies on coal, petroleum, natural gas and nuclear technology. But when focussing on property developers, what proportion seriously considers solar power and other renewable energy sources as prevailing standard?
3 min read They may be small, but they are the solution to the demand for more accommodation in tight spaces, particularly within city CBDs (central business districts). There are many names for them including ‘tiny homes’, ‘apodments’, ‘micro units’, ‘micro flats’, ‘nano units’ and so on.
3 min read Female representation in the property sector is a multifaceted topic, as the property sector consists of many moving parts that revolve around the life cycle of a property – from the concept and architectural designs all the way to the delivery of the property, property sales, property management, and the services required to run and maintain a property.
4 min read The new South Africa was in its infancy when Golf Digest magazine started ranking the country’s best courses back in 1998. Adjudicators strive to rate candidates objectively, enabling a panel of knowledgeable reviewers to democratically decide on which courses to include in the coveted Top 100 list.
3 min read The global shift to remote working has amplified demand for fibre services over the last few months, and developments with the best connectivity are likely to be the most attractive to tomorrow’s buyer.
4 min read Few things have a greater impact on the economy than an interest rate hike or cut. A hike is often welcomed by savers, especially if that is passed on by the banks via their savings products but it’s equally frowned upon by those of us in debt as it makes borrowing more expensive.
3 min read So, 2021 one has come and gone, but the trends that have affected the commercial property sector last year will no doubt trickle through 2022 as well. We are, after all, still in the throes of the Covid-19 pandemic, although it has recently produced what many feel is a weaker variant.
2 min read When it was announced in November that South Africa had concluded a historic agreement to secure R131 billion for the country’s transition to a low carbon economy, the news was celebrated in international environmental circles. On a national level, estate managers and developers can contribute by building green and maintaining planet-friendly standards.
2 min read Many countries have shut their doors to South Arica following the discovery of the Omicron coronavirus variant in November and foreign visitors have all but vanished over the usually busy summer.
2 min read During the third quarter of this year, the Western Cape Government was finalising a draft policy to address affordable housing. Billed as ‘ground-breaking’, its Inclusionary Housing Policy Framework (IHPF) tackles the consequences of ‘apartheid spatial planning’ – and developers form an integral part of the plan.
2 min read Caleo Capital is a global boutique investment management firm, with a strong focus on the principles that one would associate with a family office. The business prides itself on being fiercely independent, which means they provide unique, tailor-made advice to their clients.
4 min read Spanning 13 years, South Africans have lived with the spectre of load shedding, due to ageing and poorly maintained infrastructure. According to a report released by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in August, South Africa experienced 650 hours of load shedding in the first half of 2021, shedding an estimated 963GWh of energy. This represents 76% of the total load shedding experienced in 2020.
2 min read If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of Johannesburg and Pretoria, then take a 45-minute drive to North West, and you will soon stumble upon the majestic Magaliesburg Mountains and, nestled within them, the Xanadu Nature Estate.
3 min read It’s understandable that many developers want to create high-end retirement homes aimed at wealthy boomers – it’s a very lucrative undertaking, after all. While there’s a market for that, it’s important not to lose sight of what pensioners on lower incomes may need when it comes to housing.
3 min read Activists have long called for the construction industry to ditch concrete. Back in 2019, there were calls at the Architecture of Emergency climate summit to stop using this building material because the four billion tons of cement produced each year account for 8% of global carbon dioxide emissions.
3 min read Developments in sewerage management are making a positive impact on estate infrastructure and expenses – other than the obvious use of irrigation on golf courses. This tech lightens the load on bulk services provided by municipalities and, in turn, minimises augmentation fees payable by developers to local authorities.
2 min read The remote working revolution came with its fair share of benefits. As well reducing a business’s costs for water, electricity and in some cases even rent, the working-from -home model has also helped to combat some longstanding concerns regarding outsourcing.
2 min read Leading international recruitment firm, Michael Page, has just released their Mauritius Salary Guide and Hiring Insights research for 2022. In it, the recruiter focuses on several sectors including engineering, property, and construction to name but a few.
2 min read Technology is constantly evolving, new trends emerge and what works today, might not be useful in the next decade. As technology needs change over time, it is important for real estate developers to make room for technology advancements, by futureproofing their developments to create a quality living experience for residents.
3 min read Cable theft is a form of organised crime that has had a significant impact on businesses, communities, and the economy. The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry estimates that cable theft costs the SA economy between R5bn to R7bn a year.
2 min read The realisation that you’re under insured for your home contents usually happens too late. Often, it’s during the claims stage when you need to replace an item (or many items) and the insurance pay out isn’t quite as much as you thought it would be. It’s easy to get angry, but the truth is that this is within your control. After all, insurers only know what you tell them.
2 min read Few will dispute that buying a home is an emotional time. It’s near impossible not to get caught up in the excitement of it all, which understandably has you racing through the mountain of paperwork, just to get those keys in your hands as soon as possible.
3 min read Steyn City’s Ultimate Helistop was recently hailed as a first for residential developments in South Africa. Introduced to the market in 2015, the 900-hectare luxury private estate is located close to Lanseria in Joburg, and the largest in the country in terms of land size.
3 min read The focus when it came to building residential estates ten or 20 years ago was security. While security was and is as priority now, and rightly so, there’s a lot more that developers and estate managers need to focus on to cater to the demands of a modern-day South African family.
3 min read In the United Kingdom construction salaries advertised by employers have soared 6.7% in the space of just five months, according to new data by jobs site, Indeed. Here, employer demand for workers is outstripping the number of candidates, which is why salaries are being pushed up.
3 min read Making a good impression is key in a residential estate market. An outdoor area is often the first impression potential buyers or visitors have of your estate. Buyers want to see clean and well-maintained landscapes that celebrate the local flora and fauna.
3 min read South Africa needs to build 2.1 million homes in the next five years if the government is to meet its own target of providing affordable housing for 12.5 million citizens by 2030. The monumental task has been made worse by the pandemic, which has plunged even more people into poverty and pushed up the cost of conventional building materials like bricks and cement exponentially.
3 min read Encouraging the youth to commit to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) subjects is a challenge. This has created a skills shortage, particularly in the technically trained professions. South Africa also struggles with an unemployment crisis where half of young people are unemployed.
3 min read Recent legal developments are affecting estates and homeowners – who are only allowed to produce a percentage of alternative energy on site in relation to bulk municipal electricity supplied – in many ways, depending on local municipal bylaws. The onus is thus on developers to stay abreast of criteria and duly inform potential buyers.
3 min read When it comes to investing in property abroad, investors and developers have a smorgasbord of choice available to them. Overseas property investments are particularly attractive, given the current talk of a worldwide property boom, claims of better capital growth and higher rental yields.
3 min read According to Afrisam, the cement industry in South Africa produces approximately 20 million tons of cement a year. In 2019 the total demand for cement in South Africa was about 13 million tons but that dropped significantly last year due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
5 min read Microfarms probably won’t solve world hunger, but it wouldn’t be far from the truth to say that they may be the best candidate for that honour. And, while it’s unlikely that many people living in residential estates are starving, it’s almost certain that most can benefit from more fresh veggies – and from fresher veggies.
3 min read Food waste, if not composted, is one of the worst contributors to greenhouse gases, as it decomposes into methane. So Tokyo University’s new research into using food waste to make cement offers an innovative way to sequester all that carbon, and – perhaps – create some tasty buildings.
4 min read If you live – or are planning a development – in one of the drier parts of the country, you are faced with some serious gardening and landscaping challenges. But you’re not the first person to have to deal with little or no water and hot, dry winds that shrivel up every little hopeful green shoot. Many landscapers have very successfully created dramatic xeriscapes of intriguing hard elements and extremely hardy plants.
4 min read An international study says around half of high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) want to buy at least one luxury home in the next 12 months, and that South Africa is one country that they’re considering.
3 min read Researchers in Sweden have succeeded in making a sustainable, renewable transparent wood that is strong enough to use as a structural element. It will be a while before it is widely available, but it has the potential to profoundly affect the construction industry.
4 min read A picture perfect tropical island with crystal-clear turquoise waters lapping golden beaches, Mauritius ticks all the boxes for a beach and watersports holiday. The snorkelling is fantastic, but to really appreciate life beneath the shimmering ocean surface, you need to scuba dive.
4 min read Until recently, most new developments had a tourism component, but some developers started rethinking that since Covid hit our shores. But perhaps it’s more a matter of tweaking your offerings to appeal to a new type of ‘tourist’ – the digital nomad.
5 min read Think Mauritius and the images that spring to mind are probably of lazing on white sand beaches, swimming in the turquoise waters of the shallow lagoon, and sipping cocktails while watching spectacular sunsets. But there are plenty of active adventures in this tropical paradise.
2 min read The various things that we’ve all said about Eskom (especially after bashing our shins in the dark) are not printable. Let’s face it. We are all – well – tired of what has become an asymmetrical relationship in which one side fails to deliver on promises. But we feel that we’re stuck in what is becoming an increasingly toxic relationship. So it is with great interest that we anticipate the City of Durban’s imminent divorce from the power (non-) provider.
3 min read Whether it’s just as a back-up for when Eskom throws a wobbly, or whether it’s a serious commitment to using renewable energy, storage is almost always the constraining factor. So incorporating a rechargeable battery in the actual cement structure of a building sounds like a great idea.
4 min read Nobody is perfect, and no system is perfect, so we just have to do the best we can, and hope that it is good enough. But how good is ‘good enough’? Or how bad do things have to be before they are not ‘good enough’? And is this culture of ‘good enough’ wise? It’s certainly expedient but, if we trawl through the news headlines, we can find many instances of when ‘good enough’ was not good enough.
< 1 min read Last year we wrote about an interesting UK-based startup that had designed a system to store electricity by raising heavy weights during low demand (or bright sunshine), and releasing them into mineshafts when needed. Seemed like a great idea – and now they are crowdfunding to build a prototype.
3 min read Gardens serve many purposes – decoration, food production, and even status symbols. But gardens can be so much more. Depending on what – and how – you plant, your garden can increase or decrease your risk of fire (and many other things, but let’s stick with fire).
4 min read We are all familiar with the sweets and snacks in the checkout queues of supermarkets. And we have all carefully averted our eyes from them, or – somewhat more difficult – tried to distract our children from them. This is just one – and possibly the most graphic – example of how we as humans (and especially as consumers) are nudged into ‘desirable’ decisions daily. But who decides what is ‘desirable’?
3 min read As low-lying coastal homes are threatened by rising sea levels and extreme weather events, some landowners and governments are proposing proactive action. While others, of course, bury their heads in the sand, hoping against all logic to defy the tides in an ironic twist of the story of King Canute.
4 min read What is the lesson we take home as we count the cost, and to try to reconstruct, after this last in a series of devastating fires? We need to think – not just about how we deal with the aftermath, or even how we deal with the actual fires – but how we prevent them from happening again. And, for those of us responsible for large tracts of land, like estates, it’s not just an academic exercise.
4 min read When the government recently published a new proposed list of critical skills, or high-demand occupations, which would make it easier for certain foreign workers to get visas to work and live in South Africa, ‘project manager’ was a recurring theme across industries. Construction – which has suffered a severe project management skills shortage for years – emerged as a particular problem area.
5 min read From Transkei to Alaska, round houses have been the norm for centuries – more probably millennia. In fact, it was only with the (in some case quite strong) encouragement of missionaries that Christian converts started to build ‘civilised’ square houses in southern Africa. But, while in some places and societies the stigma of ‘primitiveness’ is still associated with round houses, many forward-thinking architects and planners in all parts of the world are rediscovering the advantages of circular dwellings, and have been for decades.
3 min read We are all tired of restrictions, and many of us are aching to attend football matches, mega-church services or raves, and we all want the tourism industry to recover – both so that our economy can recover, and so that we can head off somewhere exotic to destress. We long for ‘normality’. So we are lining up for vaccinations and hoping that they (and the proof thereof) will fix the world and bring everything back to the way it was. But is a vaccine – and a ‘vaccine passport’ – the panacea it’s made out to be, or will it prove to be a two-edged sword with some unexpected consequences?
4 min read We’ve always known that the popular Section 12J had an expiry date, but we assumed (hoped) it would be extended. Well, it won’t be. So, if you want to take advantage of it, you had better move very, very fast to get in before the 30 June cut-off. But it’s not all bad news. While 12J is on the way out, Lucky 13sex is still around.
7 min read Most of us work because we have to, not because we want to. But New Work, as defined by Frithjof Bergmann, is work that we do because we want to – because it enriches our lives, not just our bank balances. Until recently, it’s only been artists, hippies and new-age hunter-gatherers who have managed to step off the conspicuous consumption–conspicuous busyness roller coaster, and just live. But, with new technology and an open mind, this option is open to more of us. Maybe it will, one day soon, become the new normal.
4 min read When wildfires swept through the hills near Santa Cruz, California, in 2020, they released toxic chemicals into the water supplies of at least two communities. One sample found benzene, a carcinogen, at 40 times the state’s drinking water standard.
2 min read Since the outbreak of COVID-19 last year, Mauritius has upheld the sanitary safety of Mauritian nationals and that of visitors as a topmost priority. The island nation has been widely recognised as exercising one of the best responses to the pandemic – a strategy that has resulted in a surprisingly low incidence of the disease.
6 min read Whether it’s unlocking your phone or accessing your banking app, facial recognition technology is everywhere. It’s a tool that is rapidly gaining popularity with banks, security companies, law enforcement, retailers and – of course – social media platforms. And, like every tool from a claw hammer to a chainsaw or a steamroller, this tool can be used constructively or destructively. Or, if not actually destructively, at least creepily.
4 min read Whatever your field, whether you are project managing a multibillion-rand development, overseeing the security on a small estate, getting the kids to school on time, or running a large hospital, you need to manage risk, minimise accidents, and ensure the smooth flow of a number of related tasks. We all have different ways of ensuring that this happens, but one brilliant model is as simple as a slice of cheese – or, more accurately, a lot of slices of cheese.
3 min read The Palari Group, in conjunction with Mighty Buildings, is planning the world’s first zero net energy, 3D-printed residential estate in Rancho Mirage, California, USA. It will be a small, low-density, upmarket estate but, perhaps, the ease, speed, efficiency and sustainability of the construction process may lend itself to rapid deployment of affordable housing. Or not.
3 min read You may have noticed that we’ve all been using the internet a lot more than we used to. The global shifts towards remote working, online learning, cloud-based business operations and streaming entertainment – all of which were gathering steam before 2020 happened – have been propelled forward by the local lockdowns of COVID-19. That spells opportunity for developers who can meet the growing demand for South Africa’s internet backbone infrastructure needs.
3 min read Many serious cooks swear by gas hobs. They’re reliable, incredibly controllable, efficient, cost-efficient and – best of all – they work during load shedding, as long as you have a box of matches nearby. And you can’t beat the aesthetics of a gleaming stainless steel gas hob. But how safe is cooking with gas?
5 min read Unless you’ve been living under a rock with no internet or cell reception, you will have been bombarded with cute, adorable, clever tiny house ideas. But is there any place for the tiny house movement here in South Africa, where most of the population live in ‘houses’ that would make a tiny house seem uber-luxurious? Perhaps the most important thing the tiny house movement can do is to get people to rethink what is necessary, and what is possible. And that’s just what any smart developer should be doing.
3 min read We are all aware that we need to do an environmental impact assessment before we embark on any large-scale (or sometimes even small-scale) endeavour like mining, new building, landscaping – even farming. But this is – in the scheme of thing – relatively recent, so it is still seen by many as an inconvenience imposed by tie-dye-clad, lentil-eating tree huggers. But how did we get here? How did trees get legal standing? (And rocks, and bunnies and other natural things.) And why should we comply with the spirit of this legislation rather than trying to circumvent it by manipulating the letter?
6 min read What does genuine economic progress look like? The orthodox answer is that a bigger economy is always better, but this idea is increasingly strained by the knowledge that, on a finite planet, the economy can’t grow for ever, and academics, economists and activists have, for decades, been exploring ways of moving beyond growth economics and towards a ‘steady-state’ economy.
4 min read Usually, when you review a book that you think is good, or even – as in this case – excellent, you wax lyrical about how much you enjoyed it. Well, this was not the case here. Reading this book is not enjoyable. Every page you turn feels like being hit over the head with something big and heavy – perhaps a book, but definitely a hardcover one. Seriously, it’s a traumatic read, but a very important one, especially for developers with a social conscience who are hoping to create something sustainable.
3 min read Property development is about more than buying low, adding value and selling high. It’s about creating communities because, without the potential to be part of a community, no-one will buy into a development. This is why it is important to not only envision the community you want to create, but also to take cognisance of the existing community, and to balance their needs with those of the development and any future residents.
4 min read Japan, rightly, has the reputation of having one of the world’s safest and most efficient rail transport systems. And one of the most important contributors to its impeccable safety record is a simple, inexpensive technique that can be used by anyone in almost any industry – it’s the simple system the Japanese call shisa kanko, or point-and-call.
3 min read The plethora of ‘information’ about how colour affects mood has had property managers considering painting their facilities green for calming, or orange to increase food sales. But the relationship between colour and mood is not an exact science, and one person’s happy colour may well make another person positively nauseous – at least when it comes to paint. But available evidence indicates that different coloured light can reliably affect a person’s state of mind.
6 min read As we become more and more disillusioned with the inequity and unsustainability inherent in the way society is run, we sometimes dream of living in a utopia – a community in which everyone is respected equally, there is no poverty, and we live in harmony with the seasons and the rhythms of the planets.
4 min read Researchers at UC Berkeley have developed a new way to reinforce concrete with a polymer lattice, an advance that could rival other polymer-based enhancements and improve concrete’s ductility while reducing the material’s carbon emissions.
3 min read A few days ago, when I was walking in Cecelia Forest – one of my regular haunts – I noticed a stream that had not been there previously. Or, at least, I thought I did. I’d walked around a corner and, yes – there it was – I could hear a stream. But I knew there wasn’t one there, so I stopped and thought.
6 min read We know that – as a country, and as property developers – we have failed to effectively and equitably utilise South Africa’s resources. Land use is illogical – based on narrow perceptions, and still subject to the legacy of colonial and apartheid spatial planning – and decidedly inequitable. We know that we have to change the relationship of people to land, but we are almost paralysed by the enormity of the challenge.
4 min read Houses in warm parts of the world are traditionally painted white – think of Greek islands, or Cape Dutch houses. Now that might be through lack of alternatives – or lack of imagination – but it is actually a good idea. White paint reflects sunlight, which means the walls absorb less heat.
4 min read In a document entitled ‘Our Shared Water Future – Cape Town’s Water Strategy’, the City of Cape Town has announced its intention to make a fundamental change in its management of risk – a clear indication that they are taking to heart the lessons learned from the Day Zero near-miss.
3 min read On 28 February 2020, Johannesburg woke up to a new city map: one based on the Nodal Review, which had passed a council vote the day before. The Nodal Review, which aims to deliver on the City of Johannesburg’s Spatial Development Framework, could have far-reaching impacts for residents and property developers.
3 min read There are very few people by now who don’t acknowledge that renewable energy is the way of the future, but there is that pesky problem with managing peak demand, and the storage of, for example, solar energy for ‘a rainy day’. Storage is the main constraint for the installation of renewable energy, so it’s not surprising that this is a growing field.
5 min read Port Elizabeth has hit Day Zero – that dreaded spectre that had Capetonians tossing and turning in their unwashed sheets a few years ago. In some parts of the city the taps have – literally – been turned off, and water is trucked in by tanker. All this while Cape Town is revelling in full dams and continuing rainfall, but there is a distinct possibility of a Day Zero in Gauteng too. How did we get here?
3 min read 5G will change our lives, as the fifth generation of cell phone technology catapults South Africa into the Fourth Industrial Revolution. With faster connectivity and more bandwidth enabling Augmented Reality, self-driving cars, the Internet of Things, and mobile data connections at unimaginable speeds, 5G is amazing. A whacking great 5G tower erected on your property without your permission? Not so amazing.
4 min read Moving to a retirement estate can be – and should be – a positive, liberating experience. It’s a line in the sand that states that you are no longer planning your life around your children, and that you have time for yourself. It’s a time to decide exactly how you want to live without the albatross of a huge suburban home, lawn, garden and two-car garage full of tools hanging around your neck. It’s time to lighten up. There’s even a word for it: dostadning.
3 min read When we talk of semigration now, we are no longer just talking about the familiar pattern of movement from Gauteng to Cape Town, but about the worldwide counter-urbanisation or de-urbanisation movement, which sees people actively moving away from cities to smaller towns in search of a less stressful, more peaceful country lifestyle, while still retaining their city jobs, if they wish to do so, by working remotely.
2 min read If you love beautiful design in the bathroom and kitchen, and recognise the importance of excellent quality that doesn’t compromise on functionality, Hansgrohe’s electronic mixers are the perfect fit for you. While Hansgrohe is known for being a leading bathroom specialist, kitchens have also become an important focus for them in recent years. Their innovative, state-of-the-art mixers are testament to their longstanding commitment to quality.
3 min read While the country slowly starts to open up after an extensive lockdown period, the spread and effect of the COVID-19 pandemic are far from over. As scientists begin to understand the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, new methods of potential spread are emerging.
5 min read SARS-CoV-2 has changed so many things – the way we socialise, the way we work, and – yes – even the way we think. But will it irrevocably change the landscape in which we live? Cities evolved to accommodate the way people worked, so will they now evolve to embrace a new work-life balance? And how will this affect our bottom line as developers? Do we need to think outside of yet another box that we thought was watertight?
3 min read Virtual property viewings in South Africa were few and far between pre-COVID-19, but they have been rapidly gaining traction, especially during the national lockdown. As we now begin to adapt to a new, post-pandemic, socially distanced normal, they could become part and parcel of buying and selling a home. So, what exactly does a virtual viewing entail, what are the positives and possible pitfalls, and is the South African property market ready for it?
3 min read It sounds like a win-win deal: you invest in a small- or medium-sized enterprise (SMME), helping it to grow by increasing its access to equity finance, and in return SARS gives you a handsome tax deduction. From a property investment point of view, many of these 12J enterprises were in the hospitality space, with investors buying into properties that catered to South Africa’s booming tourism industry. Then, in early 2020, COVID-19 struck. Boom turned to bust, leaving investors wondering if there’s any future for 12J.
3 min read Buying a property for rental is a big investment that is not without risk. So, can rental guarantees sweeten the deal? Rental income is key for investors, so developers offer rental guarantees as a way to entice investors to sign on the dotted line. A rental guarantee is usually a net return that a developer promises to pay an investor purchasing a buy-to-let property.
2 min read This spectacular, low-impact Frankie Pappas-designed home in the Waterberg sits lightly on the land, appearing to float among the trees. The brief was to design a home that disappears into the landscape, that sits among the rocks and trees and birds, that offers animals and plants and humans equal opportunity to find shelter, and that treats the bushveld with the respect it deserves.
3 min read Researchers at the University of South Australia have developed a new microchip that enables continuous monitoring of pH and chlorine levels in swimming pools, and that will vastly improve water safety. New research shows that it can deliver consistent and accurate pool chemistry for reliable pool management, so it can safely be used by individual home owners and estate management.
3 min read The coronavirus pandemic has caused an unprecedented disruption in the student housing sector, because the number of international students coming to the UK has fallen dramatically. This has left cities like Cardiff with an oversupply of high-end, purpose-built student accommodation blocks (PBSAs).
9 min read Property buyers and sellers are facing uncertain times during the COVID-19 pandemic. Buyers who are accustomed to a regular salary cheque are concerned that they will no longer qualify for a home loan, as many consumers face the dire reality of a salary cut, retrenchment, or shorter working hours. All these events can result in a substantial reduction of income.
4 min read Some residential estates are very big so it can be difficult to know what’s going on, especially in the wilder sections. Even if your estate is not strictly a wildlife estate, it’s important to know the condition of the veld and the health – or otherwise – of animal communities. The old adage – if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it – is particularly true here. And, surprisingly, there is a fantastic app that you can download for free that will do just that.
4 min read Permaculture is one of those words being bandied about as possibly the only way to save the planet, and to slow down or prevent the demise of humanity. Well, that’s probably a bit over the top, but it is a revolutionary way of looking at how we relate to our world, and – who knows – it might just save the planet after all. Whether you are developing an estate from scratch, managing an existing estate, or just wanting to decrease your personal carbon footprint, permaculture principles can increase efficiency and save costs.
5 min read A development is not a residential estate – it’s a place with houses in a greater or lesser stage of completion. But there comes a time when the developer steps out and the homeowners association steps in – and from that moment, the estate becomes a community – a place where people live.
4 min read When you look at them closely, the gardens and protected wildlife areas on your estate probably host an astonishing number of different plants, insects, birds, and even reptiles and mammals. Your observations about the natural world around you can be enormously helpful to scientists – and collecting them can be a lot of fun, and a great way of building your community, too.
5 min read Good news for property buyers, but even better news for property developers and sellers. The affordability ceiling for first-time buyers who qualify for a FLISP subsidy has been increased from the previous average home loan amount of R 680,000.00 to R 870,000.
6 min read A 2019 report by the South African Property Owners’ Association (SAPOA) states that nearly 20% of the office space in the Durban CBD and Rosebank (Gauteng) was empty in the last quarter of that year. And that was before office workers skedaddled home en masse and cyber-commuted while battening down the hatches against SARS-CoV-2. What does that mean for our cities, and for the people who live in them? Or, more importantly, the people who don’t live in them. And what does it mean for developers?
4 min read The introduction of the National Credit Act had an immediate impact on the approval of credit agreements. The affordability factor, which is the capability of a debtor to pay back a loan became, the lender’s primary focus of a lender before granting a credit facility. Lenders are imposed with severe penalties if found guilty of risky lending but, as the market experienced a major decline in home loan approvals, there was an unsurpassed increase in unsecured lending. Capitec Bank is a prime example of expansion of unsecured lending, and African Bank is an example of a lender that was almost sunk as a result of risky lending practices.
3 min read Inspired, in part, by the tiny house movement, micro apartments have been touted as a solution to the housing shortage, the increasing cost of urban land, and the need to conserve resources. But, as with many things, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted some shortcomings of these tiny spaces.
3 min read Your development is ready for sales, and you need widespread marketing to reach as many potential buyers as possible, followed by a flawless sales process. What is the best way – a dedicated sales team, or an estate agency?
5 min read Other than developments specifically designed for retirees, students and/or ‘young professionals’, the homes on estates, and even in apartment blocks, are designed as ‘family homes’, and estates are marketed as places in which families can thrive. But what, exactly, is a family? First let’s look at those ‘family homes’.
4 min read On 15 March 2020, in terms of Section 3 of the Disaster Management Act 57 of 2002, the Covid-19 pandemic was classified as a national disaster, due to its potential severity and magnitude. Pursuant thereto, on 29 April 2020, the Risk Adjusted Strategy Regulations were published. These Regulations can be made available upon request.
4 min read Trout are originally from the northern hemisphere, but they are a highly sought-after species for epicureans and anglers alike, so they have been introduced worldwide. Their popularity as a fly-angling species makes their introduction into dams or lakes well worth considering. But consider carefully.
2 min read COVID-19 has had a massive impact on how we interact with others. This impact is particularly felt by essential services staff, who have to continue working despite unsafe conditions. We examine the dangers of COVID-19 to estate security staff, and what companies are doing to keep both their clients and workers safe during this uncertain time.
3 min read As we change the way we physically interact, all industries have to change the way they do business – and the real estate industry is no exception. Even before the lockdown, estate agents and prospective sellers were reluctant to let people into their houses – and prospective buyers were reluctant to enter houses where the absent owners may or may not be carriers of SARS-CoV-2. So, even once the lockdown is over, it’s clear we will have to make some serious changes in the way we market, buy and sell property.
5 min read There can be few things as rewarding as watching a healthy natural mini biome unfold in your own garden. A close encounter with one of our amazing four-legged reptiles reminds me that biodiversity can be maintained in even the smallest of suburban gardens.
2 min read We hope that the increased police and army presence on our streets means that we’re safer from crime as well as the Corona-19 virus during the lockdown. But there will always be those opportunistic thieves that take a chance, so here are some tips from Trellidor to help you stay safe while home during the lockdown.
4 min read Employers – including HOAs – must provide a safe workplace, even if that means insisting on disease tests for employees. During the early stages of the COVID-19 outbreak, cruise ships turned into living, floating laboratories for scientists studying the disease. With their close confines and high proportions of older people (who tend to be more vulnerable to the novel coronavirus), combined with their lack of access to the outside world, cruise ships were – tragically, in some cases – the perfect incubator.
3 min read The construction industry has the potential to create employment opportunities to cushion the impact of an anticipated increase in unemployment in the immediate aftermath of the current nation-wide lockdown. This is according to a submission made by the Construction COVID-19 Rapid Response Task Team (CCRR19TT) to motivate for a phased reactivation of the Construction Sector. The task team is a body representing major organizations in the sector including contractors, property developers, construction professionals, suppliers, and service providers.
3 min read Sea Point has long been regarded as one of the property jewels of Cape Town’s Atlantic Seaboard. But does it still offer good investments? With Sea Point’s natural attractions and strong short-stay letting market, but should investors be scared off by talk of ‘carnage’ in the local market, and new regulations around short-term rentals?
4 min read The crisis we are going through is unprecedented in our lifetime – even in living memory. But it’s not unprecedented in the history of the world and, almost invariably, this kind of crisis leads to immense social, technological and philosophical change. The one thing we can be sure of is that life after COVID-19 will be different, but we can’t be sure of the form that difference will take. So it’s up to us to decide how we want to change, and how we want to live in the future.
4 min read When we think of bricks, we tend to think of either baked clay bricks or cement bricks, both of which have a very high carbon footprint – conventional clay bricks are fired at temperatures of over 1,000C, and cement requires temperatures in excess of 1,400C, which requires the burning of coal with all its attendant environmental fallout. But there are bricks – or brick-like things – that can be produced at much lower temperatures, thereby using much less carbon, and producing less pollution. Some are the result of amazing new technological breakthroughs, and are only in the trail phase, while some are so old as to have been virtually forgotten.
4 min read Johannesburg lays claim to being the largest artificially cultivated urban forest in the world, which is great, even if it’s not entirely true. It’s great because it instils a sense of pride in the trees of the city, encouraging citizens and authorities alike to nurture them, and to plant more. And the Soweto Greening Project is extending that tree-planting spirit with – so far – more than 200,000 trees having been planted in Soweto. Not surprisingly, cities worldwide are becoming more and more creative in their greening efforts, with possibly the most spectacular of these being the innovation of vertical forests. Would this be a good idea here too?
4 min read If you own, live on, or are developing a piece of land of significant natural value, you will need to come up with a way of ensuring that you manage it responsibly – and the best way to do that is to think beyond your boundary fence. The plants, soil, birds and animals don’t recognise title deeds, so managing for nature requires thinking outside of the strict ownership model of land use.
3 min read Our ancestors were devastated by diseases like smallpox, polio and measles, but we hardly give these ailments a thought. They’re just not a threat, due to an interesting phenomenon called herd immunity – a term that’s being optimistically bandied about in relation to COVID-19.
2 min read Government gazetted amendments to the BBBEE legislation on 31 May 2019, with a six-month implementation timeframe. This limited implementation period could negatively impact on your business, depending on your financial year end, and the date of the next BBBEE verification.
4 min read Conradie Park, a new mixed-income, mixed-use housing development in Cape Town, has been launched for sale to the public. Its marketing campaign lauds its ‘affordability, sustainability and security’, but how exactly will it be funded and maintained in the long run?
4 min read Corporate social investment is a great way for companies – and for estates – to give back to the community. But, while any CSI is a good thing, there is a huge difference between merely diverting funds to a good cause and actually getting involved with the community on a person-to-person basis. The former – at best – improves living standards for the target community, while the latter builds real relationships that can grow into an ongoing circle of benefit.
6 min read Under capitalism, the argument goes, it’s every man for himself. Through the relentless pursuit of self-interest, everyone benefits, as if an invisible hand were guiding each of us toward the common good. Everyone should accordingly try to get as much as they can, not only for their goods but also for their labour.
3 min read As South Africa becomes more water-stressed, many home owners and estate managers are considering replacing lawns with artificial turf. Each option has its advantages and disadvantages, so you need to look carefully at how the two options stack up against each other in terms of eco-friendliness, durability, and convenience.
< 1 min read Marina Costas of BBM Law is offering free telephonic or Zoom 30 min conversations from Thursday the 2nd of April until the end of lock down from 11 am – 1 pm. All Trustees can join one meeting and ask top of mind questions around the implications and requirements of the lockdown on Sectional Title Schemes.
4 min read Property developers are encouraged to invest in District Six, despite rumours that the historic Cape Town precinct might be declared a National Heritage site. That’s according to Shahied Ajam, chairperson of the District Six Working Committee (D6WC).
3 min read Estates offer families the opportunity to ‘live, work, and play’ in a single space, which has led to a demand for practical schooling solutions in or close to estates.
But schools take up a lot of space, so it’s worth considering smaller collaborative learning spaces, fuelled by online educational centres and curriculums.
3 min read Okay, it’s official. COVID-19 is a pandemic – and it’s caused a national and international emergency. This is serious, and – yes – there is a risk of contracting the disease, and even of dying from it. But is this really the biggest risk? As with many things, it is easier to see the problems ‘out there’ and ignore the ones in our heads. So, while I’m not for one moment denying the seriousness of COVID-19, let’s look at the real risks.
3 min read Single moms have become a force to be reckoned with in the property market. Developers who want their estates to appeal to this growing demographic will need to keep in mind factors such as security, open spaces, schools and modern living units.
3 min read Most of us can point to the black stuff growing in our shower and say: ‘That’s mould.’ Fewer people can say what mould actually is. There are thousands of different species of mould that all spread through spores. Some of these moulds can cause significant health concerns, ranging from allergies to asthma attacks, and even fungal infections in immunocompromised people. Understanding what mould is, and how it grows, is the first step towards preventing it from growing and spreading in your home.
3 min read While the property industry has historically been dominated by men, an increasing number of women are making their mark in property development.
3 min read After years of controversy, the old Helen Bowden Nurses’ Home near Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront is set to be developed into social housing following the City’s decision to rezone the site for this purpose. However, the building remains occupied by the Reclaim The City activist group, who moved in in March 2017 and renamed the site Ahmed Kathrada House.
2 min read The Property Practitioner Act is a new piece of legislation that, once it is signed into law – probably mid-2020 – will replace the Estate Agency Affairs Act of 1976. Its main purpose is to establish the Property Practitioner Regulatory Authority (PPRA), which will replace the Estate Agency Affairs Board; to regulate the affairs of all property practitioners; to allow for transformation in the property sector; and to provide for consumer protection.
3 min read Johannesburg is a unique city because it was built without a local water supply. It has become the only major city in the world totally reliant on water sourced from distant rivers and pumped across mountain ranges. This creates a vulnerability that few appreciate when buying or developing real estate.
3 min read A seemingly innocuous comment about overpopulation at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos highlights how oversimplification of the issues and processes can exacerbate the problem, and shift blame from the perpetrators to the victims.
4 min read One of the main reasons people move into residential estates is to recreate the sense of community typical of villages or small, well-defined suburbs. People knew their neighbours – and their neighbours’ pets – and they memorised each other’s phone numbers. In their heads! Kids played in the street or in public open space, wandered in and out of each other’s houses, and only came home when they were hungry.
3 min read Jeffreys Bay in the Eastern Cape is best known as a top surf spot, home to the perfect wave. The J-Bay Open is one of the stops on the Men’s Surfing Championship Tour, and boasts the longest right-hand point break on the planet.
3 min read Early October 2019 saw the Property Practitioners Act of 2019 signed into law by President Cyril Ramaphosa. The new law was generally welcomed by property practitioners … even if there was initially some confusion about who exactly counts as a property practitioner!
2 min read Chris Mulder is no stranger to winning awards. In his illustrious career, Dr Mulder – together with his team from CMAI Architects – has won numerous awards from US and South African professional associations and universities since he founded the firm in 1980.
3 min read We all know retirement facilities are the new big investment opportunity, and research shows that the R1.5 million price mark is the sweet spot. The most recent census conducted in 2011 put the total South African population at 57.7 million people. Of this number, 5.4% were aged 65 and over. When compared to the same figure in 2000, only 3.7% were aged 65 and over.
3 min read Joburg is fast becoming a megacity, but how does it compare with existing African megacities for return on investment? Cairo, Kinshasa and Lagos all carry the status of megacity – cities with a population of at least 10 million inhabitants. Fast on their heels are Dar es Salaam, Luanda and Johannesburg, which are predicted to attain the status of megacity by 2030, according to the United Nations.
3 min read Bamboo is sustainable and easy to grow, and South Africa has the perfect conditions for cultivation. Could this be the answer as a building material for affordable housing?
2 min read As Gen X hits 50, existing and planned estates need to re-evaluate their position on retirement, and on multi-generational living. As the oldest of the Gen Xers are turning 50, and watching their baby boomer parents ‘raging against the [dimming] of the light’, they are starting to ponder their own mortality, potential morbidity and – shock, horror, gasp – old age!
3 min read Not so long ago, if somebody wanted to have their complaint heard, the best options were to write a letter to the newspaper (and hope that it would be published) or dial into the radio. now, in the digital age, everyone has a voice. Never before has it been easier to have your concerns or thoughts heard – no matter how insignificant or trivial they are – and that has implications for estate managers
3 min read Your home is likely to be one of the most valuable assets you will own. While you put a lot of time, effort and money into making it the ideal home, it is equally important to keep yourself informed on how well this investment is protected.
2 min read As with anything in life, knowledge is power and in today’s risky economic climate, investors need as much as possible to make bold, calculated investment moves that yield great results. Cue Estate Living, South Africa’s leading resource and specialist consultancy within the community living environments. Masters at building relationships and identifying new opportunities, Louise Martin and Jaime-Lee Gardner’s innovative services are helping investors and developers all over the country to understand their market.
2 min read Some of us get the idea of “Joburg luxury” completely wrong: We see ourselves in the car of our dreams driving down William Nicol on the way to work. When in fact, real city luxury (or perhaps even city happiness) could be found not when you upgrade your ride but when you shorten your commute. Living closer to work does not only add more time to your day and more buck to your budget, but recent research shows that it can also improve your overall wellness.
5 min read Not a day goes by without one hearing of some municipal crisis somewhere in the country. These range from banal but extremely annoying stories of billing crises, lack of budgetary control and bloated bureaucracies to the horror story unfolding in Emfuleni, where total collapse of the municipality as a functional entity has unleashed a tsunami of raw sewage flowing unabated along the streets and through the buildings, as it makes its way to the nearest river.
3 min read In a worryingly flat property market, developers are facing an ever-growing challenge to find value-adds to help them move units.
3 min read We’ve come a long way since Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth documentary in 2006. Although not the first we’d heard of climate change and the effects of globalisation, it was an eye-opener for many and it sparked fierce debate. Things that were only spoken of then are now becoming reality, and we probably all understand the severity of global climate change, and what this means for future generations.
3 min read Probably one of the most difficult issues facing estate managers is waste management. It’s a truly Sisyphean endeavour – just when you think you’ve cleared the pile, it grows back. But creative waste management is essential, not only to maintain the beauty and integrity of our estates, but of – yes – the whole world.
3 min read Every time we hear stories of veld fires, we are alerted to the very real danger to our homes of a runaway fire. The devastating Knysna fires of 2017 are a vivid reminder of just how quickly a fire can rage out of control and cause millions of rands of damages. Coupled with domestic risks such as faulty wiring or appliances, it’s essential that bodies corporate and trustees review their estate’s insurance to ensure that they are adequately covered against fire risk.
5 min read Bamboo is one of the world’s oldest natural building materials. In Asia and South America, where it occurs naturally, it’s been the building material of choice for centuries for everything from homes to bridges and scaffolding. This wonder plant of the past offers a multitude of options for the contemporary homemaker.
< 1 min read In this video Tanya Visser talks about the different types of insecticides and how to use them.
Insecticides are ideal to use for eliminating insects in your garden. Make sure you choose an insecticide that’s suitable for your needs in order to get the best results
< 1 min read The Efekto water-wise crystals is a polymer which attracts water and it’s completely biodegradable and non-toxic.
This means it’s safe and good for your plants. The crystals turn int o jelly when mixed with water, plants then absorb the water from the jelly.It’s perfect to use for garden beds, lawns, plants in containers, hanging baskets and more.
3 min read ‘Our upcoming studio units in Obs are ideal for first-time investors’ – Rawson Developers’s Brad Morgan. Smaller units geared to students and short-term renters, sold at competitive price points to first-time buyers or investors, is Rawson Developers’s winning formula that is leading the property market in Cape Town’s Southern Suburbs.
2 min read The Association of Residential Communities (ARC) has been in existence for over 10 years, with 11 founder members, 10 chapters around the country and over 300 member estates, home to over 200,000 residents and representing 58% of the market in respect of number of homes.
5 min read So, you’ve gazed upon your ‘fields of corn’ … you’ve dreamt, you’ve designed and you’ve built. Now what? Do you sit back and ‘wait for them to come’, as Ray Kinsella (a.k.a. Kevin Costner), the Iowa farmer in the movie Field of Dreams, did? If you’re Kevin Costner or some other A-list Hollywood star, chances are they’ll come in droves; unfortunately, the rest of us must rely on good, not-soold-fashioned sales communication strategies and good marketing, which curates leads, from a qualified market.
5 min read A development is not a residential estate – it’s a place with houses in a greater or lesser stage of completion. But there comes a time when the developer steps out, and the homeowners association steps in – and from that moment, the estate becomes a community – a place where people live.
3 min read It’s good business to protect natural areas within your housing estate, not only because they make it a nicer living space that can command a higher property price, but also because the functions they provide have monetary value for both you as the property owner and also the municipality within which you live.
2 min read As a developer, you are already adding fibre to new properties; in fact, you may very well be retrofitting it to old buildings. Why? Because fibre is the digital differentiator. It adds value to a property and is a make-or-break factor in the buying decisions of property and business owners alike.
3 min read As providers prepare to roll out 5G mobile technology, what does this mean for us? A generation ago, mobile video calls were the stuff of spy movies and science fiction. Now, as mobile technology enters its fifth wave of evolution, we’re stepping into a future that not even James Bond or Star Trek could have imagined. And that’s not hype.
4 min read In an urban world where we are increasingly paying attention to our physical and mental health needs, the buildings that we occupy can be designed and managed in ways that help us improve our health and wellbeing. The WELL Building Standard provides indicators that can be used by the designers, owners and managers of buildings to create a healthier built environment.
< 1 min read Estate Living and the FTTX Council Africa will once again be hosting a Property Stakeholder Workshop during the annual FTTX Council Africa Conference taking place at the Durban Exhibition Centre in September 2018.
3 min read Construction is a hazardous endeavour, so here’s how you can make it as safe as possible – and stay on the right side of the law. Let’s say, for example, ABC Development and Property Management is planning to build a new ultra-modern clubhouse at ABC Golf Estate.
< 1 min read Come and join Estate Living at JNCS Beyond Security’s highly informative presentation on the Future of proactive Estate Security at the Featherbrooke Estate on 8 August 2018. Gain invaluable insights from experts in the industry JNCS Beyond security, Axis Communications and IMC.
3 min read Security is top of mind for people looking for a retirement village, so cutting edge security systems such as CCTV surveillance, intercom systems and 24-hour security guards are the norm – much as they are on many existing residential estates. But, according to Edward van der Linde of JNCS Beyond Security, the best-of-breed security goes beyond these standard measures.
3 min read Central to any estate security product offering should be the understanding that estate security is not only about keeping the criminals out, but also about managing the behaviour of those that belong in the community. This includes residents, personal and recreational guests, staff and contractors.
3 min read Most companies and HOAs strive to appoint a board of directors that will be competent and effective in providing leadership and good governance but, in my opinion, vested interests and limited stakeholder perspectives often reduce the long-term effectiveness of their efforts.
4 min read Perspectives change, and that’s just one of the reasons you need to keep an open mind. This whole management-speak gobbledygook of “thinking outside the box”, “blue-sky thinking”, and – my favourite – “win-win situation”… they’re all just words, until they’re backed up by action. So I was recently delighted to actually witness a bit of corporate blue-sky, out-the-box thinking that really did produce a win-win situation.
2 min read The Western Cape may be the primary destination for inlanders seeking a coastal lifestyle, but soaring property prices in the province, and Cape Town in particular, have made potential home buyers turn their focus to the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) North and South coasts.