Upmarket Apartments Built in Cape Town

Construction at a new, upmarket 20-storey serviced apartment block on the corner of Cape Town’s Pepper, Loop and Long Streets is well underway.

A total of 233 apartments, ranging from studios to luxury duplex units and penthouses, will be built at a cost of R119m. “The amenities include a fitness centre, laundry and cleaning services, swimming pool and sun-deck, private movie theatre, 24-hour security, undercover parking and a concierge to attend to residents’ every indulgent need,” explains Mark Belman, business development director at Grinaker-LTA Building Cape.

The contractor is undertaking the construction of the apartment block’s external shell, including a traditional concrete structure, external facades and external waterproofing, as well as the internal division walls, including door frames, plaster, floor screeds and the first fix of plumbing, drainage and electrical. The complete installation of the mechanical ventilation, sprinklers, fire protection, roof construction, lift installation, swimming pool, timber deck and the fire door installation will also be undertaken.

Some 700,000 bricks will be used in the construction project, as well as 16 600 m3 of concrete and 881 tons of reinforcing.

The value of recorded building plans passed at constant 2005 prices in South Africa in February fell 44,2% year-on-year (y/y) from a revised drop of 53,7% (52,4%) y/y in January, data by Statistics South Africa showed on Wednesday.

A breakdown of the data shows that residential building plans fell a massive 56,3% y/y. This was followed by drops of –31,4% y/y and –20,2% y/y for additions and alterations and non-residential buildings respectively.

The total industry value in February was R3,175bn from R2,537bn in January and R5,688bn at the same time a year ago.

This comes after the building industry receded a revised 18,1% (17,2%) in 2008 from the total drop of just 2,4% in 2007.

The seasonally adjusted real value of recorded building plans passed by larger municipalities during the three months ending February 2009 decreased by 16,7% compared with the previous three months ending November 2008. The biggest decrease was reported for non-residential buildings (-21,3%), followed by additions and alterations (-18,5%) and residential buildings (-12,7%).

Building plans reported as completed at constant prices lifted 8,4% y/y from the 12,3% y/y rise in January. They lifted 1,2% in 2008. – I-Net Bridge


wo thousand housing units are set to be built in Extension 3 and 22 in the Matlosana Local Municipality in North West.

Launching the R98,3m housing project on Friday, North West Housing MEC Howard Yawa said 559 houses are already being built as part of the project, which is expected to be completed by June this year.

Yawa highlighted that the province will continue to work in partnership with various stakeholders to accelerate the delivery of houses.

The launch coincided with the celebration of the Masizakhe Women’s Group which celebrated its 10 years of existence.

The Masizakhe Women’s Group, made up of more than 500 women, are responsible for constructing and delivering houses to communities in Klerksdorp. – Kagiso Metswamere, BuaNews

South Africa’s construction industry, one of the economy’s main growth drivers, was taking the strain from the “seemingly uncontrollable” rise in food inflation, an industry think tank said on Wednesday.

Industry Insight said that approved residential building plans, which was an indication of the pipeline construction activity, has slowed to a negative growth rate of 2,7% in 2007. In 2006, the growth rate was 8,6% year-on-year.

“Townhouse development has already decreased by 7,5% year-on-year in July 2007. Should this trend continue, we could expect to see an increase in liquidations and subsequent job losses,” the organisation said.

Consumer price inflation, excluding mortgage interest rate (CPIX) had slowed to 6,3% year-on-year in July, and Industry Insight said that, although it was regarded as good news, consumers still faced exceptionally high food prices, as CPIX continued to exceed the 6% target range.

“In 2002 food inflation rose to levels beyond 20% before recovering to less that 2% in 2004. During this time various investigations were commissioned into food prices and competitive practices in the food industry. Interest rates were mainly applied to contain CPIX, excluding food, which, at that time, had increased to a peak of 8,8% in November 2002,” the organisation said.

It added that CPIX, excluding food, had not bridged the 6% target since the end of 2003.

“The question now remains whether it is fair to affected parties such as the construction industry to apply another rate hike in an attempt to contain the impact of seemingly uncontrollable rising food inflation considering that gross domestic product growth has started to slow from 5,2% in 2006 to 4,5% in the second quarter of this year.”

Industry Insight suggested that food prices come under scrutiny, rather than raising interest rates, which would result in the deterioration of economic growth, weaker investment in particularly housing and potential job losses in the construction industry.

Authored By: Mariaan Olivier
Published By: engineeringnews.co.za

Low to middle income home buyers often ignored by developers in the mid 2000s boom period in terms of their housing needs are about to be given a fair hearing. In fact it’s likely that developers, at least the wiser ones, will be falling over themselves to meet the lower market segments every need, according to a prominent home loan expert who believes property related stakeholders can no longer ride on higher house prices to balance the books.

“Volume, not value,” was cited repeatedly by Marsha Haupt, national sales manager of mortgage originator Better Bond, as she urged home loan consultants at a recent convention in Johannesburg to increase their market activities. As the average household debt of 73 percent nudges its highest levels ever and upward pressure continues on interest rates, Haupt says the lower house price growth will be driven by affordability levels. Haupt strongly advises developers to keep a weather eye on oil price trends, domestic fuel and food prices and the rand exchange rate in their forward planning. All of which, she believes, will be strongly inter-woven in the house purchasing trends into the next year. Even so, Haupt is cautiously optimistic of a house price growth of around 13,1 percent (7,2 percent real) for the year over that of 2006.

Assuming developers will respond to the burning issue of affordability, either through building smaller units, lower price finishes and higher densities she sees this having a positive effect in stabilising selling prices in the second hand market. Her view is based on the current price differential between new and existing houses, which in the first quarter of this year was only 2,3 percent, or R21 800 more than an average size house. Far off the cry of the 31,1 percent, or R173 100 differential between new and existing recorded in the first quarter of 2003.

Given that the banks are still lending up to 108 percent on the purchase price of a new unit and transfer costs are included in the selling price Haupt says existing homes, unless representing good market value for money, could find themselves sitting. The situation could be further exacerbated by increases in second hand stock, which are already in over supply.

Published By: Rodney Hayter, September 5, 2007

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