Regina Brett, 90 years old, of Cleveland , celebrated growing older by writing down a few life lessons. In doing so she created a famous article of those things that we need to read and internalise for application in so many emotional and life circumstances. Here they are with acknowledgement of her Wisdom:

  • Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
  • When in doubt, just take the next small step.
  • Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family will.
  • You don’t have to win every argument.
  • Stay true to yourself.
  • Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.
  • It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
  • Make peace with your past so it won’t mess up the present.
  • Don’t compare your life to others.  You have no idea what their journey is all about.
  • Take a deep breath every now and then. It calms the mind.
  • Get rid of anything that isn’t useful.
  • Clutter weighs you down in many ways.
  • Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.
  • It’s never too late to be happy. But it’s all up to you and no one else.
  • When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.
  • Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy clothes. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
  • No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
  • Frame every so-called disaster with these words: ‘In five years, will this matter?’
  • Always choose life.
  • Forgive others and yourself.
  • What other people think of you is none of your business.
  • Time heals almost everything. Give time a little time.
  • However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
  • Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
  • Believe in miracles.
  • God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.
  • Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
  • Growing old beats the alternative of dying young.
  • Your children get only one childhood.
  • All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
  • Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
  • Envy is waste of time. Accept what you already have, not what you need.
  • The best is yet to come…No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
  • Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.

And then there is another reading that may enrich your life at this Christmas time.

It was written by Dr Randy Pausch in his book, The Last Lecture, one of the bestsellers in 2007. He sadly died of pancreatic cancer in 2008.



  • Don’t compare your life to others’. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
  • Don’t have negative thoughts of things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
  • Don’t over-do; keep your limits.
  • Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip.
  • Dream more while you are awake. Then act.
  • Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
  • Forget issues of the past. Don’t remind your partner of their mistakes of the past. That will ruin your present happiness.
  • Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don’t hate others.
  • Make peace with your past so it won’t spoil the present.
  • Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class, but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
  • Smile and laugh more.
  • You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree, then let it go.
  • Negativity starts with you. Don’t respond to a friend’s happy greeting of: “Good morning, how was your weekend? with, “The weekend was too short and I have to come back here to work”.
  • Be happy, be grateful, but don’t be content.  There are many people who would sacrifice a lot to be in your place.
  • Be positive, even in down times. Some may think you’re insane, but they would want to be like you.


  • Call your family often.
  • Each day give something good to others.
  • Forgive everyone for everything.
  • Spend time with people over the age of 70 and under the age of 6.
  • Try to make at least three people smile each day.
  • Don’t allow  yourself to fall  into compromising situations. You may live to regret some of them.
  • What other people think of you is none of your business. You cannot control how others feel.
  • Create support when you don’t need it. Then stay in touch with those family and friends. In life, things happen.


  • Put God first in anything and everything that you think, say and do.
  • God heals everything.
  • Do the right things.
  • However good or bad a situation is, it will change. Nothing could ever remain the same.
  • No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
  • Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
  • When you awake alive in the morning, thank God for it.
  • If you know God you will always be happy. So, be happy.
  • Life’s routes are all about choices, think before you make that choice, and when you do, you will be happy for it.

As I write this, some of the sayings seem so cheesy and old fashioned. But, I guess the question is not so much about the gifts you give at a time like this but rather the Giver. All of us love a Rolex watch but would a hug from a long-lost friend also be good and perhaps, a reconciled family, be even better and longer lasting. You decide and do with the messages what you want.

It remains for Homeloan Junction and this blog to wish you a wonderful Christmas season. Enjoy the fellowship of family and friends and take that breath that energises you for 2017. 2016 has been a tough year for many and it is difficult to ‘spin’ it any other way. But many have survived and even thrived in it; all need to feel gratitude even if only for their own sakes. Many of us have lost loved ones or things we held dear but, if you’re reading this with any sense of depth and meaning, you have survived to tell the tale. And it probably is true that ‘whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger’.

Yours in Property


2016 has indeed been a volatile year but let’s have a look at some of our national and property data from the banks.

Please prepare yourself, the economists and bankers have not been bundles of joy this year. Even the way they have described the data is often quite negative. Most of what they say virtually carries over to 2017. Bear in mind that comparison is at best subjective as different banks use different bases for calculation; but, we just seek the trends for comment.

HEALTH WARNING: Reading the information below could be bad for your health 

Standard Bank [06 December 2016]:
Macroeconomics: Data Release: November House Price Increases slow to 6.3% year on year 


  1. House price increases [HPI] slowed to 6.3% in November from 6.9% in October 2016.
  2. 2016 can be likened to 2012 in terms of house price growth but underperformed that year by 3%. Remember then we were coming out of the very low base of 2008-2010, the Sub-Prime crisis.
  3. Growth in house prices has been moderating for the past five months because of tougher conditions in the economy and reduced confidence.  The labour market softened further in Q3 and unemployment rose to a historical high of 27.1% [published 23 November 2016]. 63% of SA households rely on salary and wages whilst this group accounts for 75% of mortgages. Needless to say, mortgages need a healthy labour market.
  4. SARB data showed that household credit growth slowed to 1.0% yoy in October, from 1.2% yoy in September. Within household credit, mortgage advances (60% of total) slowed for the fourth consecutive month to 3.4% yoy from 3.7% yoy.
  5. Affordability is expected to continue impacting adversely on the demand for and supply of mortgages, and ultimately on property prices.
  6. Purchasing activity will continue to point to subdued demand due to rising political uncertainty, slowing growth of disposable income, a tightening labour market, and tight financial conditions. Commensurately, we expect to remain below inflation for the remainder of 2016 and into 2017.

FNB Residential Mortgage Barometer [6 November 2016]:


  1. There has been no real growth to speak of in the residential market.
  2. FNB is not projecting any major change in 2017 despite an increase from 0.2% [2016 projection] to 1% [2017 projection] GDP growth and interest rates that remain steady.
  3. HPI are projected at 5.1% this year with 2017 forecasted at 3%.
  4. Total mortgage lending reduced 6.3% in 2016 and FNB projects a further 2% decline in 2017.
  5. FNB records a declining trend in mortgage arrears from 3.3% in 2016 to 3.2% in 2017.
  6. Good news for banks and their lenders, is that Residential mortgage vulnerability to rates increases and economic shocks has greatly reduced from the very serious days of 2008.
  7. Household sector mortgage loans as a percentage of disposable income is down from 49.2% in early 2008 to 34.7 % in 2nd quarter 2016.
  8. Debt to disposable income ratio has declined from 87.8% to 75.1% in the same period.
  9. Credit growth looks set to remain “pedestrian”.




  1. ABSA puts GDP growth at 0.4% projected in 2016 and rising to 1.1% in 2017.
  2. Inflation is expected to be 6.3% in 2016 and 5.5% in 2017.
  3. Interest rates are up 0.75% in Q1:2016 and have been level since then.
  4. Consumer have endured heightened stress owing to rising unemployment.
  5. HPI has been in a band between 3.5% and 4.5% in 2016 and  2017 is expected to be similar. This results in house price  deflation in real terms between 1.5% and 2.5% in 2016 and 2017.
  6. Inflation has been driven by food, fuel and the Rand.


I warned you! So, let’s create some context……..

It’s amazing that about a year ago the Chinese stock market collapsed so fast that the stop-losses failed. Remember those heady days when it seemed everything commercial was breaking loose around us. Now we have survived through 2016 to see the Dow Jones breaking 20000. On top of that, we have survived the Rand at UKP24 and watched the US$ rate rise to R17 and pull back to as low as R13.25. Our stock market has moved sideways between 47000 and close to 53000 whilst the DOW has broken records. Our President has faced 1, no 2, no 3 No-Confidence debates and even a request in the ANC NEC for him to stand down.

And then we have the American election; an uprising, to say the least. You now doubt saw the TIME Magazine with Donald Trump on the cover page. The title: Donald Trump – President-Elect of the Divided States of America. And, after all the orchestrated insults and the locker-room videos, the NYSE likes him. How “otherwise” is that?

Our politics and SOE’s have been a disgrace this year. No-confidence debates shouted and clapped down by a majority; their right but also their connivance. The President being told to “follow his conscience” but it’s okay if he doesn’t. Then, the voice of the people giving nobody a real majority in any major centres but in Cape Town, Nelspruit, Polokwane, Bloemfontein and Durban. The first and the last, major contributors to economic growth. But now the PE, Pretoria and Joburg coalitions have uneasy senses of peace but have to work together to create real poverty alleviation and stop corruptions in its tracks. The SOE’s need no further mention. Probably, the low-point for me is the President referring the State of Capture Report for judicial review instead of a commission of inquiry.

But you know, the property industry has survived and even thrived. Not everywhere has had the Cape Town success story but, so help me, matters could have been worse everywhere. Just some comments in this vein on the above Bank analyses:


  • 2016 GDP growth is projected between 0.2% and 0.4%. I’d take the latter any day. And both have avoided recession!
  • Affordability is in order and, when stress tested, is the best since 2008. In fact, FNB says the consumer is in a much better place to withstand shocks.
  • Debt on the mortgage books is due to continue a slow but certain improvement. That’s very good news because a bleeding banker get really grumpy when deciding on credit. Good repayments make him [her?] much happier.
  • The rate of cost increases of new sales is reducing for the mortgage available. I have spoken much of the impact of slowing price rises on affordability and the lender’s attitude to loan-to-value. Good news!
  • GDP growth predictions are bullish. Mr Gordhan says as much as 1.7% and even the banks are saying 1 and 1.1%. I’ll take 1% anytime and 1.7% every time. Can you imagine growing 5X faster than the 0.2% prediction this year? FNB may be right that credit growth may remain “pedestrian” but let me tell you, the positive spin on a growing economy will put everybody in a better mood. Get the Springboks to win against Georgia and we could have a recipe for a mini-boom [Sorry, just a joke!]. But seriously, even if HPI continues to decline in real terms, the news of some green shoots in economic growth and another 200mm of rain, could offset the political shenanigans that, in any case, go with an Elective Conference at end-2017.
  • No more needs to be said for Employment. Give a businessman confidence and you have a willing horse to pull the employment cart.
  • The debt-to-income ratios have declined very positively over the last few years. Good news!
  • Last among many points, a consumer who is more confident, in a growing economy, with interest rates somewhat steady [I’m not truly convinced that we have seen the last of rate rises given the FED’s 3-increase stance in 2017], and house price increases declining in real terms whilst inflation drops within the 6% target band of the SARB, could be the very economy for which we seek in 2017. Would we want more? Do we need more, much more? Of course!. But just some encouragement in the number and the messages would be truly valued.

I would love to hear your views, but as a good quote goes:

“You’ve done it before and you can do it now. See the positive possibilities. Redirect the substantial energy of your frustration and turn it into positive, effective, unstoppable determination. “ Ralph Marston

Yours in Property.


I know it sounds like a blog that should be written after Christmas and about the past 2016 year. But it isn’t, of course, because it isn’t Christmas yet, though I know you could have been fooled by that as Checkers lead the Charge of the Christmas Light brigade on 25 October 2016 – a full two months before that beautiful Holiday.

Just some context for my thoughts. I have written about Brexit in early July 2016. Lest we forget, Britains decided to exit the EU, signing their declaration of independence from Europe by invoking Article 50. To date, Theresa May has appointed a new Foreign Minister and her Chief Brexit Negotiator and then seems to have gone coy on everybody. I guess undoing a massive agreement with your country’s bedfellow does take time. In the meantime, the UK Pound has collapsed from US$1.70 to US$1.20 [Approx 30%] but, according to the Office for National Statistics, the UK’s gross domestic product expanded 2.3 percent year-on-year in the third quarter of 2016, accelerating from a 2.1 percent growth in the previous period and in line with preliminary estimates. It was the strongest reading since the second quarter of 2015, boosted by net external demand and gross fixed capital formation. Not bad it would seem, given some of the gloom and doom around Brexit.

Then came Munexit in which I essentially looked at local government and pondered the state of the vote in SA’s large metropoles. My basic encouragement was that voters turn out because what happens in our cities matters deeply. They did, and the rest is history but for Bloem, Polokwane and Ekurhuleni where the ANC held sway. To be honest, apart from some positive political statements, I haven’t felt the change yet –  it takes time to turn a city. Frankly, what I feel is irrelevant but what the less advantaged feel is crucial especially if the ANC gets it act together from 2019 onwards.

What really happened in Britain and our City Councils? Corruption got “klapped” and the twin peaks of Immigration and Independence [read: a new spirit of nationalism] got challenged. It’s a stretch to link the two with respect to our metropoles, but there is some familiarity.

Enter Ameriexit. Who would have guessed!? Donald Trump, the man with the everlasting kuif, beat Hilary. Apart from some re-counts in the huge votes of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan which we shall see, he beat her hands down. The first women, her email saga, alleged corruption, who knows? On his side, a huge white male vote, some 70%, and though I don’t have the final stats, a somewhat “secret” minorities vote. But here he is, in all his glory, the first really non-politician American President-Elect.

I watched the elections unfold. Trump seemed to hammer Hilary’s person incessantly and, honestly, to the point of boredom. But he also hammered on about Jobs and Immigration and Corruption [read: the fact that you are, or the ability to be, bought for political favours]. Beyond that, he continued to say and reveal little. Do you really know how he will run the American economy? Do you really know what he will do with NATO or NAFTA or Obama Care? I don’t. But what I do know is that he is going to “Make America Great Again” and for all of Hilary’s, “We Are Great Already”, he was heard where and in the quantity it mattered, for votes.

The parallels to Brexit are sobering. Both countries are in the throes of radical globalisation and both, utterly dependent on trade with the rest of the world. Globalisation has increasingly raised the prospect of un- or lower quality, employment. It kind of sneaked up on us and we were duped by the first world Unemployment stats coming out of America. 5% and on its way to 4% is enviable especially at our 27+%. Yet, beneath the statistics is deep unhappiness as jobs have left the USA shores equipped with a license and a patent so that some stranger in Asia could manufacture the tekkies and TV’s. Slowly but surely, the industry of America wilted and the city centres decayed.

On the other hand, immigration proceeded unabated and lower-level jobs were absorbed by Mexicans et al. If you hail a taxi in New York, you very seldom hear American spoken behind the steering wheel. I also met some Americans on a cruise who own serious real estate in Dallas and he admitted that he could not conceive building, maintaining and managing his property portfolio without Hispanics to do so. Similarly, Britain over the years has experienced a huge influx of people from former colonies; a trend which has only increased in the last decade. Resources are seriously strained and the NHS, roads and housing have all felt the difference.

Then along came the Syrian crisis and bombings in Paris. As I sit and think about it, these visuals seem to have become a turning point. David Cameron seems to have been naïve to think he could have held and won a referendum in favour of staying in Europe. And, after many requests to stand, Donald Trump seems to have read the air of discontentment in the American populous. Sweeping statements of disgrace and collapse were all it took to win. Walls, renegotiations and exiting non-Americans became the mantra for success. But, along with it, his anti-corruption rhetoric certainly struck a chord down here!

Quo vadis? All of the above means little unless we see how it affects us. I’m tempted to stick out my ostrich-like neck but let me remain cautious for one simple reason: I don’t know.

Uncertainty reigns in three main areas: the Stock Market; interest rates and politics. Because of the extent of uncertainty, business as usual seems to be the order of the day for now, at least. Commodities had an early run as the markets decided that Trump would spend on infrastructure. The UKP remains under pressure so the US$ has remained strong to it. Interest rates have remained stable and the possibility that Governor Yelland will raise them in December is real. There is much debate about some of Trump’s early appointments and much is being made of the revision [and exclusion] of many of his campaign promises. Overall I think he will be conservative and will actually be able to accomplish many of the things he has spoken about given the Republican majorities in the Senate and Congress. However, he won’t be able to achieve them in the way he simplistically campaigned. Politics is not business and “deals” have far more long-range complexities than building a high-rise or a golfing estate.

For us, America has “exited” globalisation and immigration. They would like economic growth, prosperity and security to follow. Time will tell if their votes counted for this “wonderful” outcome. It is going to be a roller-coaster ride for the next two years at least until Trump settles down and moderates some of his realities. On the upside, we could have a strong America resolving Syria with Russia and creating good links and alternative thinking with Britain and Europe and even China. My sense is that we don’t need to consider the downside because sanity will prevail.

One thing we have is change. I am reminded of the words of William Arthur Ward:-“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.”

Decide where you are positioned. Reposition as required. Keep your face in the direction you intend to go.

Yours in Property.