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State set to challenge prices of white farms
Business Day - South Africa
SA is looking at tougher measures to speed up land reform which could include challenging prices that white farmers are demanding to cede their property as part of the drive to address injustices from the apartheid era.

Chief land claims commissioner Tozi Gwanya said that black ownership of land had increased from 13% in 1994 to 16% today - short of the target set by government.
Business Day

Mixed blessing of loan middleman
Moneyweb - South Africa
Mortgage origination - or the generation of new home loan business for the banks - is now indisputably in the hands of independent companies that have, in the past financial year, upped their share of all new loans granted from 55 to more than 60%.

Rudi Botha, CEO of leading mortgage originator PA BetterBond, says this increase is even more significant when one considers that the total value of new home loans granted has risen in the past 12 months from about R7-bn a month to R12,5-bn.

Land claim could change the destiny of a people
Reuters - South Africa
Gert Domroch has lived in the Nama village of Kuboes in a remote corner of South Africa's Northern Cape Province for all of his 75 years. From his backyard, the old man gestures with his pipe to the surrounding expanse of windswept desert against a backdrop of jagged volcanic mountains: "This is the land of our forefathers and we've been dispossessed."

The land he is referring to is known as the Richtersveld and extends about 100 km to the south to include the villages of Eksteenfontein and Lekkersing, as well as encompassing Richtersveld National Park to the north and the coastal towns of Port Nolloth and Alexander Bay.

Property charter ready for comment
Business Day - South Africa
Expectations are that the final draft of the property charter will be completed by the end of April. The draft is currently being reviewed by the property industry. With Nomonde Mapetla, chief executive of the Estate Agency Affairs Board.

Lindsay Williams: How is the property charter progressing?

Nomonde Mapetla: It's quite on track. We should be completing this current draft, the second draft, by the end of this month. Hopefully we should be able to present that to the Minister of Public Works by 20 May 2005.

Lindsay Williams: Can you give us any ideas as to what the charter will reveal?

Nomonde Mapetla: It is really intended to discuss issues of black economic empowerment, skills transfer, and the ability of estate agents to actually determine the quotas on the actual numbers - in terms of ownership, and shares, and equity holding in the companies. But it is mainly about skills transfer - the current draft. Tomorrow we are going to be meeting with some of the big industry players - people from Pam Golding, Eskel Jawitz, Chas Everitt - to request their specific input on how they see their contribution going forward, in the area of estate agency development for previously disadvantaged individuals.
Business Day

Beware pitfalls of off-plan sales
Business Day - South Africa
Well-known developers in Cape Town and Johannesburg are warning residential property buyers to be careful and research the track record of developers when buying a home off-plan.

There have been several cases recently where developers have not had the necessary rights in place for the planned development, or costs have been incorrectly calculated, preventing the development from going ahead.

Although investors get their deposits back if the development fails, they lose out on other opportunities.
Business Day

Do estate agents have a conflict of interest?
Moneyweb - South Africa
Buying a home is one of crucial the investment decisions that people often have to grapple with.

But most prospective homebuyers are not familiar with the do's and don'ts of buying a house. To navigate the complex maze of home buying, the uninitiated often enlist the services of an estate agent.

However, calling on the expertise of an agent can have its problems. Critics charge that estate agents have a conflict of interest in property transactions. An estate agent cannot represent a buyer and a seller in the same transaction, it's a conflict of interest, charges Allister Long, MD of Powerhouse Financial Services.

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