Unlocking wealth potential of Township Housing

Posted On Friday, 30 March 2012 02:00 Published by eProp Commercial Property News
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Could unlocking the wealth potential of all townships be as big a step forward as Margaret Thatcher’s handing over of council houses in Britain to their tenants for private ownership?

 Lanice StewardThis is a question that Lanice Steward, MD of the Cape estate agency, Anne Porter Knight Frank is busy contemplating.

“Former council houses in any of the big UK cities have a minimal value of at least £100 000 – and there is always a market for them.  Just think how much wealth this has put into the hands of the former tenants – and our townships have similar potential to enrich people who until now have had almost nothing.”

The property sector in SA, accordig to Steward, represents 15% of SA’s annual GDP and the black townships are said to have an intrinsic value of anything from R500 billion to R1 trillion.

The potential of unlocking this market for wealth and job creation and through putting property ownership and property trading on a sound, well documented commercial footing was emphasised by Steward at a short presentation to students of a Graduate School of Business’ management course.

The presenter is herself one of those undergoing management training with the GSB and the students were asked to come up with a new entrepreneurial proposal that was genuinely a “breakaway” from run-of-the-mill tactics. 

Steward proposed that a non-profit real estate trading company be formed to serve a selected area in the Cape townships.

The main goal of the company, said Steward, would be to attract and train real estate agents.  During their initial year, she suggested, they could be paid a small retainer and reduced commission and be given management and skills training so that they could at the year-end qualify as professional agents. 

This main goal would, said Steward, go hand in hand with a secondary goal of educating property owners in understanding the legal processes and financial opportunities, obligations and implications of property ownership, about which, she said, there is still “massive ignorance” among formerly disadvantaged people. 

“Transformation on property ownership here,” said Steward, “is long overdue.  A huge asset is lying largely unused.”

Steward’s proposed business model envisages forming a non-profit company and raising sponsorships from those already established in this sector – banks, conveyancers, bond originators, estate agents and others – who could be offered a long term low value return but who, by linking in with the new company, could later participate in its “significant” profits.

Steward stressed that there could be no shortcuts in this operation – all staff and agents would have to go through full training in selling, legal, valuation, accounting and other property issues.

Last modified on Monday, 10 March 2014 12:46

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