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Wgtn property developer cancels sale deals
Stuff.co.nz - New Zealand
The developer of a new Wellington subdivision is upping house prices by tens of thousands of dollars after cancelling earlier purchase agreements. Some homes in the new Brooklyn Valley Rise subdivision are being marketed at prices starting from $390,000. But the original purchasers, whose contracts were cancelled in July, bought them off the plans for as little as $300,000.

Developer Lance James used a "sunset clause" to cancel several contracts in the multimillion-dollar subdivision in early July. The clause allowed either vendor or purchaser to cancel the contract if resource consents were not finalised by June 30. Other agreements had sunset clauses expiring this month and had also been cancelled. Sunset clauses are a common way to protect purchasers in the event of a development stalling but are less commonly used by vendors.

eBay ventures into property
Finance24.com - South Africa
eBay Inc cemented plans to expand into the online housing rental market with its agreement to buy privately-held Rent.com, a website that lists rental properties, for $415m plus acquisition costs, net of Rent.com's cash on hand. In a press release on Thursday, the online auctioneer said it expects to fund the deal with $385m in eBay common stock and $30m in cash.

Building a "Property-Owning Democracy"
Ghanaweb - Ghana
Last Tuesday's peaceful elections in Ghana will go down as a success story of one of Africa's passionate believer in the ballot box rather than the barrel of the gun. Ghana is one of the very few on the continent to have held four consecutive incident-free general elections since embracing multi-party democracy in 1992.

Even though four political parties sought the mandate of the electorate, three of them, all in opposition, had a social democratic agenda whilst the incumbent and re-elected, a liberal democratic party, believed it was practicing a "property-owning democracy". However, campaign messages of all the parties were quite vitriolic even if they were issue centred.

Hot property
Moneyweb - South Africa
The debate over whether the property market is in a boom or bubble phase has made many people nervous about getting onto the real estate ladder. However, ask many property experts whether now is a good time to buy and they will tell you it's always a good time to buy - provided you pick the right investment.

AHCN Advocates Easy Access to Title Documents
AllAfrica.com - Nigeria
The Association of Housing Corporations of Nigeria (AHCN) which rose from its 37th Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Umuahia, Abia State recently has commended the Federal Government for the recent reforms in the housing sub-sector.

The housing corporations also called on all State Governments to assist their housing agencies in accessing estate development loans from the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, (FMBN) for building affordable housing units for low income earners.

States told to cut taxes
News.com.au - Australia
Queensland will be pressured in the new year to use its $760.6 million GST windfall to abolish stamp duties and other state-based taxes. Federal Treasurer Peter Costello will force the issue when he meets with Acting Premier Terry Mackenroth at the annual treasurers' meeting in March.

Mr Costello yesterday signalled his determination to roll back taxes after announcing the states would collectively reap $1.9 billion extra under the GST this financial year. The windfall - predicted to reach $3.2 billion by 2007/08 - meant the states should be looking at abolishing stamp duty on conveyancing and mortgages. "There is also out there a huge range of other taxes that have to be abolished," he said.

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