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Conference a property advice wellspring

19 Jul 2010
In these tumultuous economic times it is wise to heed the words of the captains of industry as far as property investments are concerned.

As property investors grapple with the most effective strategies for moving their portfolios forward, the 8th Annual IPD/SAPOA Property Investment Conference, held at the end of July and sponsored by Old Mutual Investment Group Property Investments, offers a timeous peek at the dashboards of major property executives and strategists.

The key question is what will spur investors to commit more capital to property investment markets.

Planned around the theme Changing Dynamics, the conference will allow delegates to tap into some of the best and brightest property brains in SA and their strategies for investment moving forward.

At the macro level, says South Property Owners Association (SAPOA) chair and CEO of Liberty Properties, Samuel Ogbu, investors in all sectors and asset classes need to track gross domestic product (GDP) growth, inflation and interest rates, and the availability of credit.

"Too many investors make the mistake of oversimplifying market trends, so I prefer to assess a composite of trends, or a dashboard of dials," he explains.

"When these key economic indicators start to show promise, investors start to sit up and take notice."

Ogbu will be chairing a session at the conference entitled Changing Dynamics–The Future with a panel that includes noted futurist Dried du Toit and Dr Wilfred Anim-Odame of the Land Valuation Board in Ghana.

Experts agree that access to financing is crucial to the success of the property investment sector, especially as debt funding has diminished significantly and equity funders, in greater demand, are an ever harder sell than before the economic crisis.

Still, some analysts argue that those investors who don’t rely on external financing to the same degree as others are in a very strong position right now.

“The institutional investors are well-placed to growth their property holdings because they have only a limited reliance on debt financing,” explains property economist and Wits University professor Francois Viruly, who will present a senior level master class on property investments at the conference, as well as participate in debate on The Road Ahead.

“It’s a strategic time for them to drive new developments and expand existing properties.”

Ultimately, says Anim-Odame, property needs to generate a return and a risk that lies between the bond and equities markets.

Another key factor, says Du Toit, will be the diversification of property investments.

"Investors will increasingly consider geographic, sectoral, global, listed and direct options for property," he says, pointing out that much property investment activity will take place on the world's major stock exchanges.

Lodine Redelinghuys, energy services manager: Western Region, Eskom, will address the pertinent topic: “Can our economy accommodate a burgeoning property sector in terms of energy availability and efficiency.”

The 8th annual IPD/SAPOA Property Investment Conference is scheduled for 29 and 30 July 2010 at the Westin Grand Arabella Quays in Cape Town.

For more information contact Sue on 011 280 6633 or send an email.

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