Archive | December 2013

Wacky, weird, and wonderful…

As the housing market continues to recover, buyers, sellers, designers, and developers around the world are trying out some interesting new ideas intended to help boost sales, says Vera Gibbons on

Some examples include:

  • Try before you buy: agents are now letting some qualified, serious buyers spend the night or even a few days in the home they are interested in buying. It’s a highly unusual strategy, but it could help wavering buyers make a decision, and is catching on.
  • Pampered pets: builders are getting more creative with the extras by taking pet friendly to a new level, and offering designer kennels, pet washrooms, and in some gated developments, a pet-care service that will walk, groom, and even arrange “play dates” for residents’ dogs.

Dog groomer

  • Make me move: US sellers in areas where there is a shortage of homes for sale are capitalising on the fact by publishing their “fantasy” price — the price it would take to persuade them to sell, on Zillow’s Make Me Move® site.
  • Right in the closet: architects and home designers are responding to a growing demand for master-suite walk-in cupboards or dressing rooms with the feel of a luxury boutique – completed with illuminated hanging rails, compartmentalised storage, shoe walls, vanity areas, and a chaise longue or two. 

What do you think about these tactics – do any of them appeal to you? What else would you suggest?


Consumers still hungry for homes and loans

According to the latest statistics released by BetterBond Homeloans, South Africa’s biggest mortgage origination group, the number of homeloan applications received by the group increased by 5,06% in the 12 months to end-October, compared with the previous 12 months, while the total value of those applications showed a 12,26% year-on-year increase.

In addition, BetterBond CEO Shaun Rademeyer says the total value of home loans formally granted through the originator showed a huge year-on-year increase of 23,85% at end-October by contrast with the 2,7% year-on-year growth in overall household mortgage balances reported by the Reserve Bank at the end of the third quarter.

“This shows,” he says, “that there has been a healthy increase in the demand for property over the past year, in spite of all the cost-of-living increases that consumers have had to contend with, and the fact that home prices have been rising (see table).

“Secondly, these figures indicate that applying for a homeloan through an originator like BetterBond really does give prospective homebuyers a better chance of being granted that loan, with the value of bonds that we were able to secure for clients having grown at about six times the rate at which household mortgage lending grew in the general market.”


The BetterBond statistics also show that its initial decline rate (the percentage of applications declined by the first lending institution to which they are submitted) showed a year-on-year drop of almost 9% at end-October, to 38% of applications submitted.

“This speaks to the quality of applications we submit, as well as an improvement in the banks’ willingness to lend,” Rademeyer says. “Being familiar with the banks’ application requirements, we assist clients in assembling all the required supporting documentation before submitting an application. In some instances we may also refer a client for credit repair before making an application.

“And of course we are able to motivate applications individually and submit them to a number of different banks if necessary.” Indeed, he notes, the ratio of applications declined by one bank but approved by at least one other showed a year-on-year increase of 18% at end-October, resulting in a 9,5% year-on-year increase in BetterBond’s overall approval ratio.

“In other words, we have been able to secure a bank approval for three out of every four applicants that have come to us in the past 12 months – and in real terms, we have been able to help more than 25 000 SA families fulfil their dreams of homeownership.”

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