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A scan of some of the headlines of some of the industry players are as follows:
“House Prices Expected to decline in 2012” – ABSA March 2012
“Fifth Consecutive month of Positive House Growth” – oobarometer March 2012
“House Price Growth Muddles Along” – Standard Bank Research February 2012
Here are 3 prominent players all choosing headlines which say different things. Absa clearly indicating a fall in housing prices, ooba, a rise and Standard Bank, it would seem neither a fall nor a rise. So what is it? Who is right and what’s happening in our industry?
If we delve deeper into some of the stats, we note the following. Standard Bank have seen a year on year growth in median house prices of 1.6%. ooba have seen a growth in average house prices of 1.6% and ABSA have seen a growth in house prices in 2012 of 3.1%. So now, despite the headlines they have all chosen, we start to see a consistent underlying message.
The problem comes in when we throw inflation into the mix which we are told is running at 6%. None of the increases above beat inflation, so actually (termed “in real terms”) the average person who owns a house is getting poorer.
The hangover from the property bubble has clearly not gone, and whilst some growth is better than no growth, it’s really only once the investor sees property as a means to increasing wealth that the extra demand kicks in, as it did from 2005 to 2007. Ironically though, Warren Buffett, the 2nd richest man in the world, indicated in May last year that property was not on his investment radar. Come March 2012, he now believes it’s an excellent opportunity for investors. In his words, “Single family homes are very cheap and if I had a way of managing a couple of hundred thousand, I would load up on ‘em”. Here’s a man who has proved his deftness at timing decade after decade, and there will be many who will follow his lead. I can’t help feeling a starting gun’s been sounded here, and we may be seeing the demand kick in soon!
Well that’s my valuable piece added to the opinion jar. Speaking of valuable opinions, we want to know what you think about this publication. Is it good or bad? We’d also like to know what you want to hear about from us. To encourage you to respond, we’re offering a free iPad 2 to a lucky respondent !!! We’ve made it really simple to complete this short questionnaire.
In the meantime, happy selling!
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