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Property Studies (MSc)

About the Programme

Property is a fundamental national asset, the use of which has an important influence on the environment, the economy, and society in general. In recognition of this, the Department of Construction Economics and Management has responded to the demand from both students and employers for postgraduate courses in property and real estate studies with the introduction of taught postgraduate courses in Property Studies. The programmes consist of taught modules, project work and, in the case of the Masters programme, a research component.

The MSc programme is fully accredited by both the South African Council* for the Property Valuers Profession the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

* requires both CON5043Z (Property Valuation Theory and Practice) and CON5044Z (Advanced Property Valuation) for accreditation purposes.

Structure of the Programme

The programme is presented over three years and consists of two self-study courses and six compulsory taught modules, followed by the Research Report. Each taught module consists of lectures, group discussions and assignments, reading and interaction with experts in specific fields.

Course Modules

The six compulsory modules are presented every year at approximately twelve week intervals, commencing in January/February. Exact dates may be obtained from the department. The MSc in Property Studies runs over three years. Each module typically comprises 20 hours of pre-reading, a 40-hour contact week at the university and 120 hours of assignment work. Candidates registered for the MSc in Property Studies is required to take the six compulsory modules.

For the 20 credit courses, there is no set order in which these must be taken. However, the first courses that a student must register for are CON5036Z (Introduction to Research) and CON5041Z (Introduction to Applied Statistics). These short courses are delivered through directed learning of set materials and are concerned with ensuring that every student on the MSc course is familiar with writing in an academic style and has a familiarity of interpreting basic statistics. Two short exams are then held at the beginning of the first 20 credit module in January and again in June. Passing both these short courses is a requirement for completing the first 20 credit module because these courses are designed to support the student in the remaining courses. CON5037Z (Research Methodology) is also a pre-requisite to completion of CON5023Z (Research Report) as the student will use the knowledge gained in CON5037Z in his/her research.

The compulsory modules are as follows:

  • Property Development – CON5006Z (20 credits)
    Investment Evaluation. Environmental Impact Assessment. Risk Assessment. Land Assembly and Servicing. Economic Viability Analysis. The Construction Stage. Marketing of Improvements. Whole Life Appraisal.

  • Property Law – CON5007Z (20 credits)
    The Meaning and Function of Law and Legal Rules; the Main Divisions of the Law; the Structure of the Courts, Officers of the Courts and Different Court Procedures; Sources of South African Law; Basic Concepts of Private Law; an Outline of South Africa’s Constitution; the Bill of Rights and Land Use; the Expropriation Act; the Impact of the Environmental Clause and Environmental Legislation on Land Use; Sectional Title & Share Block Schemes; General Principles of the Law of Contract; Specific or Applied Contracts; Sale and Lease; Forms of Security: Contractual and Property Rights; Insolvency Law: The Effect of Insolvency on Property and Uncompleted Contracts; Commercial Agency: Estate Agents; Alternative Dispute Resolution; Case Studies.

  • Urban Land Economics – CON5008Z (20 credits)
    Urban economics and urban problems. The urbanisation process. The urban hierarchy. Urban rent. Theories of urban spatial structure. Location theory. Problems in developing countries. Time value of money. Discounted Cashflows. Nature and scope of valuation; concepts and theory of value; determinants of value; the valuation process and methods of valuation; law relating to rating; expropriation and property valuation.

  • Property Finance – CON5009Z (20 credits)
    Mathematics of finance; Property Taxation; Overview of Managerial Finance and Theory; Working Capital management; Long-term Asset Management; Property Investment Decision-making; The Financing Decision and Capital Structure; Capital markets; Sources and Flows of Capital for Property investments; Types of Financial Instruments; Case Studies. Investment Evaluation; Environmental Impact Assessments; Risk Assessment; Land Assembly and Servicing; Economic Viability Analysis; the Construction Stage; Marketing of Improvements; Whole Life Appraisal.

  • Property Valuation Theory & Practice – CON5043Z
    Introduction: The Valuer; Valuation Theory – concepts and historical development; Accuracy of Valuations; The Surveyor General; Register of Deeds; Local Authorities; Town Planning Schemes; the Valuer’s Records; Factors Affecting Supply and Demand in the Property Market; Different Types of Fixed Property; Factors Influencing the Value of Property; Approaches to the Valuation of Property; the Valuation Report. Potential and its Influence on Value: Legal Concept of Potential; Economic Concept of Potential; Potential for an Alternative Use; Redevelopment Potential; Quantifying the Influence of Potential on Value; Highest and Best Use of a Property; Under-improved Property; Over-improved Property; “Wrong” or Inappropriate Development; Influence of Re-zoning on Value. Methods of Valuation I: Sales, Cost and Income Methods of Valuation. Valuation of Residential Properties: Definition of a Residential Property; Valuation Approach; Sources of Information; the Valuation Process; Limitations on Use and Development; Unimproved Properties; Improved Properties; Valuation of Township Developments including Developers’ Interests. Valuation of Income Producing Properties I: Influence of Leases on Value; Valuation of Leasehold Interests; Valuation of Income Producing Properties; Overview of Capitalisation Rates and their Use in the Valuation of Income Producing Properties. South African Legislative Environment: Relevant legislation and its application to the Valuation Process. Case Law: Relevant Case Law as it pertains to the Valuation of Property. Expropriation: Legislation; Valuation for Expropriation; Valuation of Servitudes. ARGUS – Valuation DCF Software: Use of the ARGUS software for the valuation of property.

  • Property Portfolio Management – CON5021Z (20 credits)
    Portfolio management: The Property Cycle; The Economic Cycle; Modern Portfolio Theory; The Property Portfolio. Operational Property/Asset Management: Introduction to Property Management; Legal Aspects/Tenant Issues; Maintenance/Services; Investment Strategy and Value; Current trends; Case studies. Strategic Property/Asset Management; Shopping Centre Management: Management; Leasing; Marketing; Financial Control. Facilities Management: Space planning and management; Relocation; Maintenance management & Life cycle costing. Energy management; Environmental issues. Outsourcing.

  • Minor Dissertation Property Studies – CON5010Z (60 credits)
    Statistics: data modelling using the Statistica software package. Methodology: selection of the research problem; preparation of the research proposal. Research Report: conducting empirical research; analysis of findings; drawing conclusions; making recommendations; presentation of a research report.

  • Introduction to Research – CON5036Z (4 credits)
    Research and writing skills; plagiarism; research ethics; critical analysis of literature; creating an argument; writing in an academic style; referencing conventions.

  • Research Methodology – CON5037Z (6 credits)
    Research methodology, the research experience; knowledge and problems; the proposal chapter; designing the research; theoretical frameworks; overview of research methods – from quantitative to qualitative; case studies; writing the literature review, data presentation and analysis; concluding the research.

  • Introduction to Applied Statistics – CON5041Z (4 credits)
    Data presentation: Identifying an appropriate population; drawing a sample from the population; organising data; discreet and continuous data types; graphical presentation of data. Descriptive statistics: exploratory data analysis and summary statistics. Applied mathematics: simple interest; equivalence; compound interest; present value; annuities; general annuities; sinking funds; amortization.

  • Further Applied Statistics – CON5042Z (6 credits)
    Design of a questionnaire: defining the “target” population, drawing a sample from the population, organising the data into an appropriate format for further analysis. Presenting the results: Summarizing the data, and interpreting the results. Statistical methods: Contingency tables; Chi Square tests; multiple regression; t-test and Anova; confidence interval equivalence.

  • Additional Core Courses:
    To achieve registration with the South African Council for Property Valuers Professions, a student, in addition to the core courses, will have to complete the following one elective:

  • Advanced Property Valuation – CON5044Z (20 credits)
    Valuation of Income Producing Properties II: Valuation of Residential, Commercial and Industrial Properties; Capitalisation Rates – Detailed Discussion of Capitalisation Rates; Usage and Derivation from Market; Pitfalls. Methods of Valuation II: Residual and Accounts Methods of Valuation. Valuation of Special Properties: Valuation of Sectional Titles; Valuation for Fractional Ownership; Valuation of Farms and Agricultural Land; Valuation of Shopping Centres; Valuation of Special Properties, including Petrol Stations, Air Space, Mining Rights and Minerals, Industrial Plant and Machinery; Non-Negotiable Properties, and Properties Subject to Particular Legislation. Introduction to Non-Market Valuation Methods: Travel Cost Method; Contingent Valuation Method; and Hedonic Pricing Method. Valuations for Rating Purposes (Municipal / Mass Valuations): Fiscal Requirements; Legislative Framework; Valuation Process; Appeals Process. South African Legislative Environment: Relevant Legislation and its application to the Valuation Process. Case Law: Relevant Case Law as it pertains to the Valuation of Property. Issues in Valuation Theory and Practice: Contemporary and Emerging Issues in Valuation Theory and Practice; Developing World Issues. Valuation for Insurance Purposes: Types of Property Insurance; Purpose of Insurance; Insurance Cover; Methods of Estimating and Sources of Cost Data; Inclusions in a Cost Estimate; Location; Professional Fees; Demolition Costs and Site Clearance. GIS: Type of GIS systems; Application of GIS systems to property. Valuation and Listed Property: Understand the relationship between property valuation and listed property.

Entry Requirements

Four-year bachelor or honours degree in an appropriate field, obtained from a recognised University. Examples of appropriate qualifications include, but are not limited to: construction management; quantity surveying; architecture; engineering; and planning. In addition, candidates should have work experience and should preferably be currently employed.

Applicants who do not meet this requirement, may be accepted if they possess recognised tertiary qualifications and have appropriate experience.

Applications and Enquiries

Ms Mareldia Fagodien
Administrative Officer (Postgraduate)
Department of Construction Economics and Management
University of Cape Town
Private Bag, Rondebosch, 7701
South Africa

Tel: (021) 650 5753/3443
Fax: (021) 689 7564