Scott Picken, CEO of International Property Solutions (IPS) believes a paradigm shift is occurring: 8 years ago, people would only invest in property in their own neighbourhood. Now, investors are starting to seek the best investments globally. IPS was created 5 years ago to facilitate international investments and provide an end-to-end solution to ensure that investors can invest with confidence!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Branson gives IPS the thumbs up!

At a recent Leadership Summit, Brad Allan and Scott Picken from IPS, met some of the top personalities both locally and globally. This is what they had to say:

Sir Richard Branson – Scott asked Sir Richard how he leads and gets the best out of his people with offices around the world, as geography is such a challenge. “He said, firstly it is easier as he owns an airline, but most importantly when he sees his staff it is very important to have fun. Then once the company gets to 30 odd people it is important to get a MD who is a people person and who doesn’t know how to criticize.

Malcolm Gladwell (Author of tipping point) – there are 4 main things which determine success.
o Put in the hard work and the success will come – law of 10 000 hours, you become successful after 10 000 hours of practice.
o Compensation – learning through failure.
o After time people learn what they are good at – trial and error.
o Leadership – need to give team and people the time and the space to grow, fail and learn. This requires faith from the leaders.

Shaun Tomson (Famous Surfer)– he learnt life from surfing, but his two main messages is that leadership is to inspire and that commitment takes away your fear!

Adrian Gore (Started Discovery) – said there were 7 key attributes to leadership
o Positive & Optimism – you always make better decisions when you positive.
o Set dreams and Goals – you have to know where you going.
o Sense of urgency, your time is limited – now is the time to achieve greatness.
o Never stop learning – always learning stops aging and makes the most of life.
o Persistency – key to success.
o Power of innovation – always be looking for the better way to do it.
o Integrity and Honesty – foundation for long term success.

Wendy Luhabe (SA top female entrepreneur) – to succeed in the 21st century you need to act within the interest of humanity.

Ronnie Apteker (started Internet Solutions) – basically persuasion sits at the centre of life and also he always invests in people rather than ideas.

Matthews Phosa (ANC Secretary) – was very positive about South Africa’s future and all citizens. He joked about Michael Jackson and how they are striving for, “it doesn’t matter if you are black or white.” A future to encompass all citizens, in a strong, safe and secure South Africa with a multitude of opportunities.”

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Who said we would not be ready for 2010?

I lived in London for 9 years and so many people used to tell me South Africa would never be ready for 2010! It used to anoy me so much as I knew we would 'make a plan'. Even with the strikes on at the moment (and to be honest they deserve the pay rises) I heard one construction worker say he would even work Sundays to make sure it was finished.

2010 is the pride of South Africa and we will not only make it happen - it is going to be fantastic!

Take a look at this picture of King Shaka airport in Durban.

Win 2 tickets to the World Cup 2010 Final - go to

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

UK Rental Index - June 09

© 2009

In June 2009, rents increased for the first time since August 2008, demonstrating further signs of recovery in the UK rental market.

Average asking rents have increased by 0.5% month-on-month to £823 pcm, but are still 5.3% lower than June 2008 when rents stood at £869 pcm.

Supply levels of rental property fell by 0.4% in June 2009.

This is the first time that supply has fallen in 18 months.

The average time a property is on the market now stands at 63 days, which is still 14 days longer than properties were available for in June 2008.

Asking rents in London remain volatile, declining 0.3% in June 2009 after a month-on-month increase of 0.4% in May 2009. The average rent in the Capital now stands at £1,625 pcm.

The majority of regions continue to suffer from both month-on-month and year-on-year declines in asking rents. However, the South East continued to show signs of recovery with asking rents rising by 0.2% in June 2009.

UK rental yield remained stable at 4.56% in June 2009, with average yields now standing at 4.33% for UK houses and 5.24% for UK flats.

Click here for the whole article.

June - Nationwide UK Property Index - Growth 0.9%

House price rises continued in June

• House prices rose by 0.9% in June
• Three month rate of change turns positive for first time since December 2007
• Low supply supporting prices for now, but a sustained recovery still faces risks

Commenting on the figures Martin Gahbauer, Nationwide's Chief Economist, said:

“The price of a typical house rose by a seasonally adjusted 0.9% in June, building upon the improving trend seen over the last several months. At £156,442, the average house price across the UK was still 9.3% lower than a year ago, but this marks the first time since July 2008 that the year-on-year fall has been in single digits. The three month on three month rate of change – a smoother indicator of the short-term price trend – turned positive for the first time since December 2007 to stand at 0.9%, up from -0.4% in May. If the pattern of price movements seen in the first half of the year is repeated over the second half, then prices could show only a small single digit fall for 2009 as a whole. This would represent a stark shift from trends seen at the turn of the year, when most indicators were pointing to a repeat of the large declines seen in 2008.

Prices have stabilised despite very low house purchase activity

“House prices have now risen in three of the last four months, suggesting that the improvement that began to show up in March represents more than just statistical noise. What is unusual about the recent trend reversal, however, is that it has taken place against a background of transactions activity that is still very low by historical standards. Although it has risen from the all-time record low reached in November 2008, the industry-wide number of mortgages approved for house purchases is still 55% below its long-run average and 33% below the trough reached in the 1990s downturn. Normally, such a low level of house purchases would be associated with falling house prices. Alongside the low level of mortgage approvals, however, there continues to be a relentless drop in the stock of property available for sale, as potential sellers and builders have responded to depressed demand conditions by reducing the supply of property coming onto the market. As a result, prices have been able to stabilise even in the face of very low demand.

What the rest - click here.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Property prices up 4 per cent this year in Aus

Posted on Tuesday, July 07 2009 at 9:00 AM

House and unit prices climbed 3.9 per cent over the first five months of 2009, all but cancelling out the losses incurred last year, according to figures from RP Data and Rismark International.

Values climbed in every mainland capital city except Perth during the five months to the end of May, the RP Data-Rismark Hedonic Index suggests.

The national median price for all dwellings sits at $468,819 as of the end of May 2009, just 0.1 per cent or $520 shy of its peak in February 2008.

“These latest results herald a national residential market recovery,” says RP Data head of research Tim Lawless.

“It’s important to note that it has taken just 15 months for values to recover (to) the February 2008 peak.”

Melbourne is the top performer in terms of house price growth over the first five months of 2009, with the median climbing 5.9 per cent to $469,357.

Darwin tops the growth charts for units for the same time period, with its median price climbing 7.1 per cent to $342,724.

Rismark International managing director Christopher Joye says housing finance approvals, auction clearance rates and other independent house price data all confirm the remarkably resilient condition of the Australian housing market.

“The recovery in Australia’s housing market, which has defied countless doomsayers, has in turn been the cornerstone of the Australian economy’s stability in 2009,” Joye says.

Looking at each of the mainland capital cities, RP Data and Rismark report that over the first five months of 2009:

* Sydney’s median house price rose 5.1 per cent to $582,543, while the city’s median unit price climbed 5.4 per cent to $442,994.
* Melbourne’s median house price rose 5.9 per cent to $469,357, while its median unit price jumped 6.7 per cent to $377,077.
* Brisbane’s median house price climbed 3.1 per cent to $458,748, while its median unit price fell 0.3 per cent to $327,982.
* Adelaide’s median house price fell 0.2 per cent to $412,516, while its median unit price climbed three per cent to $345,466.
* Perth’s median house price fell 0.5 per cent to $475,481, and its median unit price was down 0.3 per cent to $440,783.
* Darwin’s median house price climbed 4.8 per cent to $493,430, and its median unit price jumped 7.6 per cent to $342,724.

Go to for more information on Australia.

Survey suggests Aus property upswing looms

Australian Property Investor Magazine
Posted on Tuesday, July 07 2009 at 9:00 AM

Property professionals and investors believe Australia is approaching the next upswing in its property cycle, according to a survey conducted by Colliers International.

Most investors believe property is somewhere between four o’clock and six o’clock on the property clock. Six o’clock is considered to be the bottom of the cycle, while nine o’clock represents the upswing, 12 o’clock is the peak and three o’clock is the downswing.

Colliers International asked its institutional and private clients across Australia to plot where the market sits on the property clock, with 42 per cent of its respondents in charge of a portfolio of $1 billion or more.

Felice Spark, director of commercial research at Colliers International, says the residential market is providing the first ‘green shoots’ of growth.

“Typically when the cycle starts to improve we see the first signs of positive growth in the residential sector and this has just started to happen in recent weeks in Australia, providing a strong indication that the tide may be about to turn,” Spark explains.

“Thirty-six per cent of investors surveyed believe Australia is at five o’clock on the property clock, with a further 36 per cent identifying either four or six o’clock,” she adds.

Asked when the upswing would be well under way, 64 per cent of respondents nominated 2010, with more inclined to think it will occur in the latter half of the year.

John Marasco, director of investment sales at Colliers, says the survey results indicate that “the window of opportunity for the best purchases will soon close”.

Go to for more information on Australia.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Financial Times UK Property Market Review - June 09

If you want to know what is happening in the UK property market, the Financial Times Property Index is the best way understand the trends. There are many indices, but the Financial Times Index is the only one which takes all property in the UK into account. This is what they had to say for June 09.

House prices in June fell by 0.3%

The average price of all property transactions completed in England & Wales in June 2009 was 0.3% lower than in May – the lowest monthly fall since April 2008.

• Prices are now 13.1% lower than a year ago
On an annual basis, the average price of all completed transactions in England and Wales in June is 13.1% lower than a year ago – and together with the revised figure for May now show that on an annual basis, the fall in house prices was at its highest in April 2009 at minus 13.7%.

• Housing Transactions are on the increase
Although from a very low base, the traditional increase in housing transactions during the Spring did take place in 2009, despite the reported difficulties in obtaining mortgage finance. May housing transactions were up 43% over February 2009, against an average increase of 36% for the equivalent period over the last 9 years. However the overall level of housing transactions in May 2009, at approximately 40,000, is down 62% from the average 103,937 homes sold in May, for the years 2000–2008.

Dr Peter Williams Chairman of Acadametrics said
“The average house price has fallen well below the £200,000 mark and at £197,802 is now back to where it was in January 2006, that is more than 3 years ago.

“The monthly % change at -0.3% is one seventh of the peak monthly fall recorded some six months ago, at -2.2% in November 2008, and the data do suggest that the sharpest falls are behind us and that the rate of decline has now slowed significantly.”

If you want to read the report, along with regional analysis then click here for the download.

Go to for more information on the UK market and the current opportunities.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Survey finds Australia number one for property investment

Australia has been placed at number one in a list of the best countries in the world for property investment.

A new international survey has found Australian property investment the best in the world.

China and Japan also held top places on the list of the best countries for property investment in an annual survey of the investment intentions of the world's largest global real estate investors.

Falling property prices and the lower Australian dollar has pushed the Australian property market the top of the list, although Australia wasn't even mentioned in the Investment Intentions Asia Survey last year.

"A lot of investors are regularly getting on a plane to Australia this year. This was not the case a year ago,' said Robert Lie, co-director of the Asian Real Estate Association which conducted the survey along with the European Association of Investors in Non-Listed Real Estate Vehicles and the US based Pension Real Estate Association.

Until recently property investors were looking for growth and opportunistic investment in emerging markets, he said. But the 2009 survey shows that investors now want returns from core assets in developed markets. These include the world's large global investment houses such as LaSalle Investment Management, Morgan Stanley, Deka Immobilien Investment and Blackrock.

About half of the investors and managers of fund-of-funds (funds that invest in other managed funds) surveyed rated Australia and Japan as 'the most appealing in terms of performance prospects in Asia'. Some 41% of respondents rated Australian office and Japanese office investment as their preferred choice.

The breakdown, however, identified different levels of optimism among institutional investors, funds managers and fund-of-funds managers. The survey found that managers of fund-of-funds were more optimistic about Australia as a location than fund managers or investors.

According to the survey 64% of fund-of-funds managers listed Australia as the preferred location, compared with 58% of investors and about 40% of fund managers.

The respondents expected the market in Asia, including Australia, to recover next year, with some expecting to see signs of recovery starting this year.

Go to www.ipsinvest to understand opportunities in Australia.
South African House Prices Slide Most in 23 Years (Update1)

By Mike Cohen

July 6 (Bloomberg) -- South African house prices fell the most in 23 years last month, dropping 4.4 percent from the year- earlier period, according to Absa Group Ltd., the country’s biggest mortgage lender.

The average nominal house price dropped to 924,600 rand ($115,130) as prices fell 0.5 percent in the month, Absa said in an e-mailed report today.

South Africa is in its first recession in 17 years, pushing up unemployment, slowing consumer spending and depressing house prices. The Reserve Bank has cut its benchmark interest rate five times since December, dropping it to 7.5 percent, to help revive the economy.

“Nominal house price deflation is set to continue for the rest of 2009, starting to slow down towards the end of the year,” Absa said in an e-mailed report today. “The lagged effect of lower interest rates and a gradual recovery in the economy from the second half of the year are factors which will contribute to an expected improvement in residential property market conditions from early 2010.”

House prices will probably decline about 3.5 percent this year, and by more than 12 percent after taking inflation into account, the Johannesburg-based lender said.
Absa’s house-price index is based on the average cost of a home from the mortgage applications it receives. Standard Bank Group Ltd., which uses the median price in its survey, said July 1 that house prices fell 4.9 percent in June compared with a year earlier.

To contact the reporters on this story: Mike Cohen in Cape Town at

Go to for more information on South African Property.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Make money from 2010 World Cup from your South African properties!

With the World Cup 2010 less than 12 months away, South Africans are waking up to the opportunities availiable. Here is an article by Denise Mhlanga on how property owners can benefit from the 450 000 visitors coming to South Africa.

Football for many people is about the glory of the sport but when South Africa won the bid to host the FIFA 2010 Soccer World Cup, it opened a whole lot of economic opportunities for citizens to explore.

A year to go before the event, to be held in June 2010, news has emerged that the country is facing serious accommodation shortages for the over 400 000 foreign soccer fans expected to race our shores.

The big question on every citizen's lips is likely to be: where are these people going to be accommodated? We know that MATCH, responsible for finding accommodation for FIFA VIPs, sponsors and the international media has been focusing on working with graded accommodation to house the delegates. All of this is about to change and ordinary home owners will get a chance to rake in extra cash by letting out their homes for the duration of the soccer event.

Speaking to Moneyweb (JSE: MNY) FIFA president, Sepp Blatter said his biggest worry at the moment is that there could be a shortage of accommodation for the 450 000 foreign visitors expected next year. He added that the shortage will be particularly acute in Bloemfontein.

In an interview with Shine 2010 earlier this year, MATCH executive chairman, Jaime Byrom said according to MATCH requirements 55 000 "units" are considered adequate capacity for an estimated 450 000 soccer fans and FIFA delegation expected to visit South Africa in 2010.

He mentioned concerns about the accommodation shortage, saying MATCH could look into private housing and universities so the target of 55 000 is met by 2010.

Some property experts may have known about the looming housing glitch for a while and until now, MATCH has shown very little interest to smaller short-let landlords who have made inquiries about adding their stock to the official pool.

Now, a number of operators have unveiled plans outside the MATCH arrangements for what could be a significant income-generator for ordinary home owners who want to earn extra pocket money by handing over their homes to soccer fans.

Seeff Properties chairman, Samuel Seeff and football icon, Gary Bailey, were among the first out of the starting blocks in a joint venture aimed at finding fans for home-owners and vice versa. visitors have been asking questions including: how one actually participates in this venture; how much money they can expect to make for the 30-day period or whatever time the property is let out - and how Seeff will ensure valuable assets are protected. For example, one visitor asked: If a home owner were to list their home for short term letting, what experience does Seeff has for vetting short term tenants from other countries and what benefits a home owner derives by paying some of their income to Seeff.

In response to these questions, Seeff said it will require all prospective tenants to pay a damage or security deposit and Seeff will carry out initial and outgoing inspections - and ensure that the inventory is checked at the end of the lease prior to refunding any deposits.

Homeowners need to ensure that they have household insurance and personal liability insurance for the duration of the rental. Seeff said its agents have experience in these types of rentals.

Emarie Campbell, general manager at Seeff Properties told that agents charge home owners anything between 20% and 25%, depending on the service options they choose.

The rentals being achieved are expected to be in the range off 30% and 40% higher than normal rentals achieved for prime seasons over the Christmas period. Deposits for renting these properties will range from 20% to 40% of the total fee depending on the type of accommodation, adds Campbell.

Shana Kagan, who heads up Channel Estates - an established specialist in short-term letting in the Atlantic Seaboard area - said her agency is looking at finding opportunities for its clients as well.

Kagan specialises in privately-owned apartments which are mainly let to visitors and are core investment properties. She said the 2010 accommodation shortage provides an opportunity for property investors to make money from the 30-day period in June 2010.

Currently, a two bedroom up-market apartment in high season on the Atlantic Seaboard, Cape Town, can be priced from between R1 200 to R1 500 per day.

Dino Joannu, director of Just Letting, Western Cape, says Just Letting has entered into an arrangement with a company offering exposure to targeted overseas markets.

Landlords using Just Letting services will therefore have access to international markets. The properties will be paid for upfront and agents will earn less than 6% provided that the landlord supplies limited cleaning services to their tenants, said Joannu.

Joannu says landlords will be paid upfront before the tenant moves into the property, however, 30% will be retained for 14 days to ensure that all services have been rendered accordingly and this allows visitor right to recourse if they did not get what was promised by the landlord during the signing of the lease.

Home owner tips to cash in on 2010: Joannu

* Ensure the property is adequately insured to cover all eventualities.
* Deal with a reputable company that will market the property effectively to the targeted overseas market.
* Take note of additional opportunities that enterprising landlords could take advantage of such as laundry services.
* Landlords should try to develop good reputation with guests as they will be acting as ambassadors for South Africa.

Go to for more information.
"If you help enough other people get what they want, you can have anything you want!"

Zig Ziglars