This is good news for foreign buyers who account for almost 7% of total sales, by far the highest proportion of sales in any South African city, with the British a prominent force, according to the Cluttons South Africa first quarter 2011 report.
It reports a lengthening in the average time homes spent on the market before selling, from 15 weeks and six days in the fourth quarter of 2010 to 19 weeks and one day. Nevertheless, in Cape Town, the occasional big high price sale has supported confidence, even through the market’s toughest period, it shows.
Over 80% of properties in Cape Town sold for over R6 million (£550,000) were to cash buyers. City Bowl and Atlantic Seaboard properties have fetched biggest prices. Between June and December last year the average price of apartments in the City Bowl, where 327 apartments were sold last year, jumped 15.2% to R1.53 million (£140,000).
The Cluttons South Africa report added that since the bottoming out of the recession in 2009 when market values had dropped in most areas by 12 to 15%, there has been a marked increase in property transactions in the lower end of the market, R1 million to R4 million (£90,000 to £365,000) and in the upper end where prices are R10 million (£900,000) plus.
It says that the lower end has benefited from the loosening of banks lending criteria and the upper end records most sales as cash sales. This is particularly true for British buyers, where cash is used or borrowed from UK banks at interest rates far below those currently available in South Africa. ‘British buyers can benefit from substantial discounts by shopping around. It is important to look for quality and prime locations,’ said Jacques Ellis, managing director, Cluttons South Africa.
The prime areas in Cape Town are the Atlantic Seaboard and the Constantia Valley. The Atlantic Seaboard includes the V&A Waterfront, Green Point, Sea Point, Fresnaye, Bantry Bay, Clifton and Camps Bay, the last four being the most prime and expensive areas. Hot spots in these areas are Upper Green Point and Upper Sea Point. Value can still be had in these areas with many properties being fully renovated or demolished and rebuilt either as single family homes or small blocks of apartments, according to Cluttons.
In Constantia Valley, the prime areas include Bishops Court, Constantia, Upper Constantia and Steenberg. All of these areas have potential and offer larger homes with excellent views of False Bay. There is a large number of estates around Steenberg that are near the best schools, the report adds.
Most of the appeal for the British buyer is that English is the most widely spoken language, the over night flights to the city are easy and have just a one hour time difference. Also, compared to popular Mediterranean destinations, prices for similar properties are up to 50% less.
‘The British have always been a prominent force in the purchasing of properties in the Cape region. We have recently concluded a number of sales to British buyers in the R5 million to R18 million range (£450,000 to £1.6 million). We also feel that the bottom of the market has been reached and the middle and luxury end of the market offers substantial opportunity for price increases over the next few years,’ explained Ellis.
Read the full article over at propertywire.com.
“The shuttle has always been special for me because it was the first thing my husband and I shared together,” Brenda Mulberry says.
It is also their livelihood.
Florida’s Space Coast, with NASA’s Kennedy Space Center as its anchor and identity, is bracing for an economic meltdown when the shuttle program officially ends later this month.
Mulberry’s husband already lost his job as a quality engineer in the April 8 layoffs at the Space Center. Mulberry owns Space Shirts and SpaceShirts.com, a silk-screening business with a retail store full of space shuttle memorabilia that will suffer if interest in space wanes.
“It’s bad, because we don’t want to leave here,” says Mulberry, who has two children in high school. “If we leave here, 13 people lose their jobs. A lot of people lose if we leave.”
Once the shuttle program is mothballed, more than 8,000 people will have lost their jobs at the Kennedy Space Center. A final round of layoffs is set for July 22, two days after Atlantis lands. Business officials say the layoffs will ripple through Brevard County, a community already reeling from the sluggish economy and 10.8% unemployment.
“It’s a one-two punch,” says Marcia Gaedcke, president of the Titusville Area Chamber of Commerce, which covers an area where about 40% of Kennedy Space Center employees live. “Everyone’s going to feel it. You could really drill down to any business.”
Many of the county’s businesses – large and small – have ties to the space program. Melissa Stains, president and CEO of the Cocoa Beach Regional Chamber of Commerce, says 25,000 people will take a direct hit when the shuttle program ends.
“Space shuttle is about 9,000 jobs inside the gate,” of the Kennedy Space Center, Stains says. For every one person directly employed at Kennedy Space Center, 2.8 people “outside the gate” depend on business from space shuttle operations, she says.
In May, the Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville metro area, which encompasses the Space Coast, had the steepest employment decline in the state, losing 6,800 jobs, the Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation reported.
“It’s a perfect economic storm, and we’re in it,” Stains says.
Space is Brevard’s lifeblood
Cocoa Beach and Titusville grew up around the Kennedy Space Center, booming first in the 1960s as the Kennedy Space Center opened 15 miles north of town and the Apollo program soared. Cocoa Beach became so synonymous with the space program that Hollywood set the I Dream of Jeannie sitcom there, with a dashing astronaut as its main character.
The county hosts the Air Force’s 45th Space Wing at Patrick Air Force Base, on the beach between Cocoa Beach and Satellite Beach, which launches the military’s unmanned rockets from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
There are other key industries. Tourists and surfers are drawn to Cocoa’s 13 miles of public beach. Cruise ships dock at Port Canaveral. Tourism businesses employ about 20,000 people, accounting for 8% of Space Coast employment. Tourists pump $2.8 billion into the Space Coast economy each year.
But space is at Brevard’s core.
At the peak of the shuttle program in 1991, when NASA built the Endeavour, about 32,000 people worked at the Kennedy Space Center. By 2006, the number of jobs had dropped to 16,000. Still, the Space Center drove Central Florida’s economy.
A 2008 economic impact study by NASA found the space agency accounted for $4.1 billion in economic output for Florida, 40,802 jobs and $2.1 billion in income, with the majority of the impact in Central Florida.
At the time of the study, the Kennedy Space Center employed 14,865 people with an average salary of $77,235. The center’s payroll totaled $1.124 billion. The visitor center drew 1.6 million out-of-state visitors.
Of Florida’s 10,681 aerospace-related companies, 408 are in Brevard County, a study released in March by the Florida State University Center for Economic Forecasting and Analysis found. The aerospace industries employ 14,113 people and generate $416 million in annual revenue, the study found.
Enterprise Florida, the state’s economic development association, found that most of the space-related businesses are located near Cape Canaveral, but that their network of suppliers extends throughout the state.
NASA’s operations at the Kennedy Space Center won’t shut down completely, NASA spokesman Allard Beutel says. About 8,000 people will continue to work there. “It’s true Kennedy Space Center is most identified with launching the space shuttle, but in fact it’s going to be transitioning and ramping up to a different way of doing business,” he says.
Commercial rockets, carrying GPS and telecommunication satellites, will continue to launch. The Air Force launches one or two rockets a month from its Cape Canaveral base.
NASA’s launch-services program has four launches planned this year, including a spacecraft destined for Jupiter and an SUV-sized rover to Mars, Beutel says. Forty other missions are planned for the next five years, he says.
“What’s transitioning is human space flight,” Beutel says. “We’re temporarily not launching people from the Kennedy Space Center.”
NASA is also developing Orion, a new multipurpose crew vehicle that will be able to travel beyond low-Earth orbit to asteroids and Mars, Beutel says. As that and other spacecraft come on line, the number of employees at Kennedy Space Center will gradually grow to 10,000 over the next five years, he says.
Read the full article over at usatoday.com. Websites of the Space Coast>, VisitSpaceCoast.com, Wikitravel Brevard County and Wikipedia Space Coast.
‘Space Coast’ locals say goodbye to shuttle von afpenglish