Century Property Developments | December 2011 Newsletter Update | Can't see the message below? click here

Century Property Developments Newsletter Update December 2011


Dear Property Pre-launch Member;

As the year winds down and South Africans start gearing up for their well deserved summer holidays, we would like to take this time to celebrate all our accomplishments and thank all our loyal clients for making it a fantastic 2012. In this latest newsletter update, we focus on:

Property trends to look out for in 2012 | Century Racing to compete at Dakar | William Nicol upgrade | Waterfall celebrates Guy Fawkes in true South African style | Waterfall once again wins "Best in the World" award | The gift of giving this festive season

Property trends for 2012

I am often asked what my investment philosophy is when it comes to property, and the answer is always the same: buy when prices are low. This may sound trite, but as an investment philosophy it has held true since the dawn of time. I would qualify this with the following: buy good properties in good areas when prices are low. Prime properties in good areas tend to recover quicker from market slumps.

Property markets go through cycles, an inevitable consequence of the economic cycle. While this is true a general rule, in Century’s case it has not been the case: we have yet to experience a year of negative growth in any of our estates. This is a rather extraordinary achievement given the prevailing economic currents. Our philosophy has always been to build quality homes at an affordable price, so as to ensure our buyers realise immediate appreciation in capital growth.

That said, I believe we are now emerging from a nearly four-year slump in the property market. Residential property prices have been depressed since 2008, though there are flickerings of improvement starting to seep through the fog of official data. This certainly tallies with our experience at Century Property Developments, where we saw a noticeable up-tick in demand for properties from the second quarter of the year. I believe we saw the bottom of the market cycle in the first quarter of 2011. This is not to say that we have a runaway train on our hands: property cycles are slow to develop and notoriously sensitive to local economic shocks. But there are some encouraging signs that should give us comfort as we head into 2012.

This graph shows a steady increase in residential building activity

Research by Absa Bank shows plans approved for residential development up 2,2% in the third quarter of 2011 over the same quarter in 2010. Completion of new residential units countrywide increased 6,9% in the third quarter of 2011, with Gauteng – underlining its dominance as the economic engine of the sub-continent – accounting for a disproportionate amount of these units.

This comes at a time when mortgage lending by the banks remains subdued. Monthly growth in mortgage advances ranged between 2% and 4% over the last year, below the level of consumer inflation. This slow growth in mortgage advances is largely due to a contraction in the pool of qualifying buyers, due in turn to the strictures of the National Credit Act and tighter lending criteria imposed by the banks. Household debt as a percentage of disposable income is improving as consumers effect the necessary repairs to their balance sheets. Still, a large number of consumers have bad credit ratings, and that impairs their access to the credit markets.

In recent months we have noticed greater willingness by the banks to extent mortgage finance and a steady relaxation in their lending criteria. This was inevitable, as the banks are sitting on large cash holdings earning relatively small returns. This money must eventually find a home, so to speak. I would not be surprised to see further relaxation in lending criteria in 2012, when the economy is expected to pick up further momentum and consumer confidence recovers.

Another feature of the property market likely to develop over the coming year is the return of foreign investment. The weaker rand – coupled with cheaper local property prices – will attract foreign money in search of superior long term growth. Overseas property markets, from the US to Spain and China, have been pulverised by the unfolding international banking crisis, which is far from over. It is ironic to think of South Africa as a safe haven in these fraught times, but this is a reality now coming to pass.

Another trend to watch for is the emergence of secure, lifestyle estates as the preferred point of entry for new home buyers. Our research tells us there is a fundamental shift in the motivation of new home buyers. People are tending to live longer in the same residence, and are seeking a return to basic values: more time with the family, lower costs of living, and greener lifestyles. Roughly 30% of our buyers cite the desire for a greener lifestyle as the primary motivation for purchasing a property within the Century family of estates. Most parents spend an average of 45 minutes on the daily commute, and would rather spend this time with the family. The Waterfall Reddam School opens in early 2012 with more than 600 students already enrolled. Those students living within the Waterfall estates will be able to cycle to school on cycle tracks without encountering a single vehicle on the way.

These are some of the trends to look out for in 2012 and beyond, and it is these trends and insights that guide the Century ethos of secure, lifestyle living.

Source: Absa. The graph shows SA house prices maintaining their values during 2011

Century Racing take on Dakar

South Africans Mark Corbett (the CEO of Century Property Developments) and Francois Jordaan will make history when they line up for the start of the 2012 Dakar Rally in Argentina, Chile and Peru on January 1. They will be the first genuine all-South African privateer team to compete in the car section of the world’s longest and toughest motor race and will be flying the South African flag on their Century Property Developments Racing CR4 Special.

Mark Corbett is no stranger to the international rally scene, having twice won the Roof of Africa Open Class category, and competed in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. “Our intention in this race is to at least finish the race, which is something of an achievement in itself, since fewer than half the starting vehicles in the Dakar Rally typically finish,” says Corbett. “Of course we want to finish high up the rankings, but this is a three year programme for us. The idea is to improve our performance each year. This is the toughest rally in the world, and we have designed our vehicle to withstand huge punishment.”

Century Racing’s CR4 racing model was designed and built in the team’s Johannesburg workshop, using a space-frame special powered by a standard production Group N 4,6-litre all-aluminium V8 Toyota engine. The engine is fitted with a 35 mm restrictor to meet Dakar regulations for the two-wheel drive T1.3 class in which the vehicle will compete and develops 220 kW of power and 535 Nm of torque. It is mated to a French Sadev six-speed sequential gearbox with limited slip diff. The chassis is made of chrome-moly aircraft-spec tubing and with its fiberglass/carbon fibre/Kevlar body weighs 1,370 kg with two spare wheels on board. It also features on-board jacking and tyre inflation systems, the latter to allow for tyre inflation or deflation on the move, an essential requirement to maintain momentum in soft sand.

Corbett will be accompanied to the Dakar by his own support crew consisting of father Ernest, founder of the Century group and a successful off road racer in his own right, who will drive one of the team’s 4x4 support vehicles, Gaye Corbett who will be keeping the team well nourished and delivering up to date progress via her blog, team manager and chief designer of the CR4 Julien Hardy, chief mechanic Rudi Balzer (who is his Mark Corbett’s co-driver in the SA championship), mechanic Juan Mohr (a former SA off road co-driver champion) and Colin Mathews, a top competitor in the Special Vehicle category of the domestic championship, who will drive the team’s South African T5 Mercedes 4x4 support truck.

The 2012 Dakar Rally will start in the Argentine seaside resort of Mar del Plata on the Atlantic coast of South America on January 1 and will finish almost 9 000 km later in the Peruvian capital Lima on the Pacific coast on January 15. In between will be five racing special stages in Argentina, a crossing of the Andes Mountains, five stages in Chile including a crossing of the Atacama Desert before a rest day on January 8 in the Chilean town of Copiapo. Then, for the first time, the rally enters Peru for four stages and a ceremonial finish.

Click here for the Century Racing Dakar 2012 supporter kit

Century Racing’s CR4 was officially unveiled at a media launch on 26 October at the five- star Tintswalo Lodge. The event was attended by members of the media, racing enthusiasts and VIPs from across South Africa. Here’s wishing Mark and his team all the best in South America. The team departs South Africa on 27th December 2011 in preparation for the start of the rally.

View video

Track the team's progress at www.century.co.za or www.dakar.com for daily updates, blog and twitter feeds directly from the team in South America.


William Nicol upgrade

Commuters on the William Nicol Road will noticed the start of road works that will transform the route into a dual-lane transport link. The upgrade will be divided in two phases and will start with the construction of the Earling Road and William Nicol Drive interchange. This phase is expected to be completed by September 2012. This upgrade is being partly financed by Century Property Developments.

The entire road upgrade will be completed by mid-2013 but commuters will notice an improvement in traffic flow in 2012 as sections of the route are completed. The second phase will see the upgrading of the road from Earling Road to the N14 and is expected to be complete by July 2013.

Contractors have started widening the road at the Erling Road intersection, where the William Nicol crosses the Jukskei River. The upgrade will result in this section of the route being expanded to a two-lane road, with an additional climbing lane being added on the north-bound approach to Diepsloot. All major intersections along the route are also being upgraded to ease the traffic flow.

The completion of the William Nicol road upgrade will vastly improve commute times in and around the Fourways area, and will be of particular benefit to residents of the Helderfontein Estate.

“This road upgrade is a major benefit for Helderfontein residents,” says Dan Brown, sales executive for Century property Developments. “Now that the road works have started, we are starting to see a lot of interest in buying at Helderfontein from people who previously might have been daunted by the traffic problems in the area. This road upgrade changes that, and confirms Fourways as one of the most attractive and facility-rich areas in the greater Gauteng area.”

William Nicol upgrade
The new-look William Nicol (R511) will offer commuters a two-lane highway extending from the N1 Western By-Pass to the N14. This will vastly reduce the commute time for residents at Helderfontein and elsewhere in the Fourways area.

Guy Fawkes event feedback

On Saturday 5 November 2011, in true Century Property Developments style, over 2000 people enjoyed Guy Fawkes Day with a uniquely South African twist. “Picnic under the African Sky” was the theme and the newly completed Waterfall Clubhouse, located on Waterfall Country Village, was the venue.

Adopting a more sensitive approach towards the environment and the animals that live in it, it was decided not to use traditional fireworks. Instead hundreds of message lanterns were released, each bearing the hopes and dreams of the families that attended the event. The night sky was breath-taking with a trail of hundreds of glowing message lanterns – gracious and quiet.

Children were entertained around a large campfire by a traditional African story teller, before they used the opportunity to roast some marshmallows. Adults were entertained by the sounds of traditional Marimba’s as well as a group of fire dancers. Gallons of free hot chocolate were enjoyed whilst complimentary hand massages and African face-painting set the tone for the evening. Visitors packed picnic baskets, braai’s, blankets and camping chairs and enjoyed a spectacular sunset on the embankments of Waterfall Lake. “We envisaged a new responsible and uniquely South African tradition on this year’s Guy Fawkes Day, by having no fireworks. Instead we opted for hundreds of message lanterns carried away in the African night sky.” says Dan Brown from Century. “We’d like to think of it as a day to signify unity and giving thanks for family.”

Below is a gallery of images from the evening, feel free to browse and click images to enlarge.

Best retirement resort in the world

Dan Brown of Century at the Gobals Over 50's Housing award ceremony

Midrand-based Century Property Developments has beaten off more than 1,000 international competitors to walk away with the prestigious Globals 2011 for the world’s best retirement resort.

The award was received for its Sunninghill-based Waterfall Hills Mature Lifestyle Estate, which was launched in 2010. The Globals Award is held annually to recognise excellence in over-50s residential housing.

International property consultant Dan Brown, one of the project managers of the development, says the award for best retirement resort in the world is a major coup for a South African developer, not to mention what it means for South Africa. “This is a new category intended to differentiate retirement ‘resorts’ from typical retirement villages and old age homes. The judges were particularly impressed by Waterfall Hills’ focus on customised, bespoke homes, and the quality of amenities available to residents in the form of restaurants, tennis court, bowls green, cinema, convenience stores, cinema, gym and aerobics facilities and the like.”

The award was presented at a gala dinner at Grosvenor House in Mayfair London. Other winners included representatives from Malaysia, Australia, the US, Netherlands and the UK.

Century Property Developments has since launched its next mature lifestyle village, Waterfall Valley, comprising 244 bespoke residences, also in Sunninghill –or what is now known as “Waterfall”. Brown says Waterfall Valley will emulate the successful formula adopted at Waterfall Hills, offering residents similar amenities and a greener lifestyle. “There is a growing trend towards high-security over-50s estates that focus on livingrather than getting old, and 90% of our buyers cite this as a major reason to choosing to live here rather than elsewhere,” says Brown.

Century reaches out to the community

Children of the Roodepoort Child and Family Welfare Society receive their christmas presents

In November, Century held their annual family picnic at Waterfall and asked all attendees and staff to bring a gift to donate to charity. "We were absolutely blown away by the response" says Dan Brown, sales executive at Century. A Christmas party was hosted for the Roodepoort Child and Family Welfare Society where Century handed out these donated gifts to 180 children. " A big thank you to all who contributed, seeing the smiles on the kids faces is just amazing, we were able to collect 528 gifts, thank you, thank you, thank you!" stated an ecstatic Brown. If you would like more info or to contribute to this welfare society - click here

Developments curently On Show:

Helderfontein Estate - Fourways
202 stands ranging from 625m² to 1600m² each selling from R795,000
- explore now

Waterfall Country Estate/Village - Kyalami/Woodmead
800 stands at 1200m² and 1200 stands at 650m² each selling from R818,000
- explore now

Waterfall Valley Mature Lifestyle Estate - Sunninghill
244 stands at 1000m² each selling from R785,000
- explore now

Waterfall Equestrian Estate - Sunninghill
120 stands at 8500m² each selling from R5,600,000
- explore now

Crowthorne Village - Midrand
24 freestanding homes, 14 garden apartments and 14 loft apartments each selling from R869,000
- explore now

Just a reminder that our sales offices will be open throughout December from 10h00 until 15h00 (closed 25th-27th Dec & 1st Jan)
- Waterfall Valley Sales Office
- Waterfall Sales Office

Century Property Developments