This is an email from the leader of the Team that says it all…

Good day Team,

Congratulations on exceeding our all-time high Submission and Grants in July!!!

You have set a new sales record!

Without you, our business would not be what it is today! We are so proud and grateful to have such a great team.

You have already proven that you are the best sales force in the market, and with the current state of the market I am confident you can exceed again in August 😊

Keep up the great work!

Kind regards,

Remember the days of Records? They’re the stuff of antique shops in Melville and rural towns. Plastic rings with a hole in the middle and a brand label around it. Played on a record table with a needle that vibrated in the grooves and caused a sound through speakers. You got 7-singles and long-playing records. All your favourite singers. My first recollection of a record was Alvin and the Chipmunks, a cute kiddie’s long-player with squeaky voices and happy lyrics. I loved Alvin and have just Googled his song, Christmas Don’t Be Late. Be a kid again and listen to it; you’ll be glad you did.

Then there are Records of the information type. I’m reading a book of Dr James Barry who posed as a man for most of her [Margaret Barry’s] life in order to pursue her dream to be a doctor in the late 1700’s. It was the sole domain of men, but she pulled it off and spent much of her time in Her Majesty’s Army. The main reason for reading it is that she was instrumental in the humanising of the Leper colony which was established in the Hemel en Aarde Valley right behind us. Now known as Volmoed, it has become a wonderful sanctuary over the years, no longer required for its historical purpose. Dr Barry was fastidious with record keeping and thus we have much of her work in the Cape Colony and beyond recorded for us. Records, data in whatever form, are foundational to life.

But then, as above, there are Records of achievements. One of my favourite sports stars is Usain Bolt, proud holder of 8 Olympic Golds and 19 Guinness World Records. Watching him prepare, run, lift his arms in victory and then prance around for the crowds and media is always a joy to me. What a character! How much he oozes the sweet taste of success for each of us.

But what happened last month was little short of another exciting Record. Vincent, in expressing his delight at the July 2020 performance, points to a few things we could bear to remember. But before a few comments, I join his congratulations and celebrations of this outstanding performance.

History was made in July 2007 when the National formal grants peaked above R15bn. Post-sub-Prime crisis, this number had slumped by about 90% in January 2009 and we were all fighting for our lives in origination, sales and conveyancing. The next time I heard of a serious Record was October last year [open to correction] and though I don’t know the national number, originators were excited.

We started 2020 slowly with every reason not to have a great year even though interest rates were reduced to stimulate the economy. Along came lockdown on 26 March 2020 and we dunked. April was a train smash and cashflows floored as the Deeds Offices closed down. Three weeks, then five weeks and then the seemingly interminable lockdown until July L3 when most people could begin to go back to work. By that time, the SARB had slashed the Repo rate to a record low and it now stands at 3.25%.

In the words of Garreth Cliff’s new show, “So What Now?”

  1. On the upside, “Records are made to be broken” is an old saying. Who knows that this trend does not continue, and we all stand in the sunlight of sustained unexpected success?

  2. Something moved the needle and most of our guesses would be a combination of low-interest rates, fair bank approval rates, and realistic house pricing. The upsurge is probably found in there somewhere but the surprise on most of our faces is visible. I wish I could see the Occupational data of the buyers – the one thing I know is that the least affected sector of our employed economy is Government. In general, they have not needed to work beyond a minimum but have been paid without exception for every day. It would not surprise me that this sector is buying and at approx. R900000 bond size, it almost inevitable that first-timers are driving the market.

  3. “Make hay while the sun shines.” The great thing about a rising tide is that all the boats rise naturally and equally. The task of the crew is not to question the reason but to put to sea. The fruits lie in making the best use of the time while it lasts. Get out of lockdown blues and get going. Ke Nako…It’s Time.

  4. In reality, for many of us that may enjoy some success at this stage, we will need to consolidate. Barren April, May and June have likely left us platsak and getting back on our feet will not come cheaply. Given what’s happening with volumes, my only wish for you is that the Deeds Offices rise from their slumbers and get the registrations flowing again. The knock-on effect and impact of cashflow will have been felt in many a household for too long. Ek gun dit vir jou.

  5. Enjoy the moment! Times like these are unexpected, to be honest. Inflation is benign but any sense of uptick will have the SARB MPC hawks on their guards and as things stand, they will not hesitate to raise the rates again. [But as an aside, I have been amazed at how the Rand has not over-reacted to the interest rate drop. I guess the reason is that our, may I say, Record Government Bond returns have secured desperately needed funding for our country.] So, use the time to do everything you can to reap where you have sown whilst paying off debt and recovering personal capital bases. We really do have no idea where corona is taking us in the medium-term.

Finally, a thought I often share. Celebrate Success! For the humourist in us, the owner’s wife at Wijnskool Wines in the Valley, quotes Napoleon Bonaparte in her WhatsApp strapline: “In victory you deserve champagne, in defeat you need it.”

Always celebrate success. Whilst you never hang your hat on it, it is one of the rewards of hard work, well-managed risk and enthusiasm. While it lasts, savour its sweetness. If it passes, redouble your efforts. Success breeds success and those of us who have lived, know that.

To Homeloan Junction and all who support her efforts, my sincere congratulations in concert with Vincent’s. We appreciate you. And, the last well-known saying: LONG MAY IT LAST!!

Yours in Property.

Jack Trevena
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