Concern over delays in reopening Cape title deeds office
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Cape Town - Cape Town’s property market could be heading for a downward spiral if the national government fails to open the title deeds office.
There is currently a backlog of up to 14 000 deeds.
James Vos, the Mayco member for economic opportunities and assets management, said: “While we do acknowledge that Covid-19 mitigation measures are having an impact on services, we urge the ministers and their teams to come up with alternative methods of working that can be used to navigate operations during the pandemic so that services at the Cape Town deeds office can continue.”
Vos said he had appealed to the Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs and Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform for their personal intervention, to allocate more resources at the deeds office.
“The property sector and the Cape Town economy simply cannot afford this additional cost and delayed revenue streams. These delays, which have been acknowledged by the chief deeds registrar in the deeds office alone, have an enormous negative impact on all participants in the property economy - from first-time home buyers who are now forced to delay occupation and or pay occupational rent, to all municipal property transfers which have also stalled,” Vos said.
The national lockdown brought the local housing market to a standstill as the deeds office closed during level 5 and most of level 4.
This was worsened by the fact that real estate services were unable to operate until level 3. The result saw historically low levels of activity for the second quarter of 2020.
According to Lightstone Property data, a total of 5 792 bond registrations were recorded at the deeds office over the period of April to June 2020.
Rob Vanlierde of Robshaw Property group said: “The backlog at the deeds office has been very tough for us as a company as our cash flow is all tied up in sales that are yet to transfer.
“We have had to focus heavily on rentals to make up for it.
“It has also been difficult for sellers who may have been relying on the cash inflow from the sale of their property. The backlog at the deeds office also has a large negative effect on the economy as that is a lot of liquidity that is tied up and unavailable.”