The announcement by the Minister of Finance in Wednesday’s National Budget that the brackets of the transfer duty table will be increased by 10%, allowing properties below R1.1m to avoid any transfer duty payments, is welcome news for aspirant home buyers, said Dr Andrew Golding, chief executive of the Pam Golding Property group.
“This will in some measure help make home ownership more accessible for first-time buyers, particularly as the average price paid by first-time home buyers, according to ooba, currently stands at R1.13m. Also according to ooba, applications from first-time home buyers rebounded to 47.7% in January 2023, following a low of 45.8% in December 2022, which was the lowest reading since early 2017 as the cumulative impact of repeated interest rate hikes weighed on household finances, said Dr Golding.
“The introduction of tax measures to encourage businesses and individuals to invest in renewable energy and increase electricity generation is also welcome, although it is of concern that the overall cost to individuals for installing rooftop solar panels is beyond the reach of the majority of South Africans, plus the fact that this incentive is only available for one year and only 25% of the investment, up to a maximum of R15 000,” he said.
It may have been better if tax relief measures were further extended to individuals having to invest in a range of additional costs. These include gas stoves, generators, invertors, UPS devices, surge protection devices, battery-powered LED lighting, the costs of purchasing and running generators, batteries especially batteries used for security purposes,
“Adjusting the personal income tax brackets for inflation is a positive, while it is a relief that there is no increase in the general fuel levy or Road Accident Fund levy, as fuel costs are already contributing to rising inflation and placing economic stress on consumers – in particular those in the lower income group whose daily transport costs eat away at their limited disposable income. More than anything, we are hoping that government’s undertaking to act decisively to bring additional capacity onto the grid will materialise in the near future, as this is singularly the key factor hamstringing the country’s economic recovery,” said Dr Golding.