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Cluster living: the next property trend
Moneyweb - South Africa
The densification of South African suburbs is intensifying as cost and delivery realities dictate trends at the lower end of the market in particular, says Gerhard Kotzé, CEO of the ERA SA property group

And in the process, argues Kotzé, the proverbial South African "dream" starter home of three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a double garage has been "firmly consigned to history".

"Moreover," adds Kotze, "the new scenario presents major challenges in terms of housing delivery capacity in all its facets."

Property transfer duties soar
Business Report - South Africa
Cape Town - The property boom has continued to fill the government's coffers, with revenue from transfer duties reaching a record high of R754 million in March, slightly up on the previous record level of R742 million in November last year.

Total transfer duties paid for the first three months of the year increased by 34.3 percent to R1.952 billion. In 2004, the government earned R6.62 billion from transfer duties, a whopping 53.3 percent ahead of 2003.
Business Report

Tenants can hamper a sale
Property24.com - South Africa
Many investors attracted to the residential property market by the combination of low mortgage rates and soaring values in the past few years are now starting to think about reselling their investment properties.

And they should be aware, says Dr Piet Botha, chairman of the Nationlink estate agency group, that tenanted homes can be much more difficult to sell than an owner-occupied house or flat.

"This is true even in a market where demand is still strong and property prices are still expected to show steady growth.

Land reform comes to town
Sunday Independent - South Africa
South Africa's land reform programme could soon face an overhaul to make provision for the more rapid release of urban land for housing and human settlement.

Lindiwe Sisulu, the housing minister, said she was due to meet Thoko Didiza, the minister of agriculture, to thrash out details of the possible policy shift soon.

"We've had discussions with the minister of land [already] and we decided there was indeed a caveat," said Sisulu when asked about criticism that there was a gap in urban land policy.

"All along land reform was dealt with very globally and concentrated on rural land through the department of land affairs. Urban land is outside the land reform process."
Sunday Independent

A Private Land Revolution
AllAfrica.com - South Africa
It is possible that the market is transferring as much as or more land between whites and blacks than state land reform, according to research [pdf] released this week by the Centre for Development and Enterprise. It poses a challenge to the notion that only the state can lead land reform.

It suggests the current approach to land reform is too narrow and does not take into account important new realities. For example, although it is not widely known, the private sector is making a major contribution to land reform, and could do more.

Little information is available about the racial breakdown of private land transactions as the Deeds Office does not classify buyers and sellers by race. Nonetheless, using surnames, pioneering research has been undertaken in Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal. This research indicates that the value of properties transferred from whites to blacks by the market between 1997 and 2000 was five times higher than the value of land transferred by the state.
All Africa

Ocean View erupts
Iol - South Africa
For the second week in a row angry Cape Town residents have protested violently at unfulfilled promises from government of a better life for all, especially decent housing.

On Monday the main entrance to Ocean View resembled a war zone as women and youths fought running street battles with police officers trying to stop a protest that had started peacefully in the morning.

Meanwhile, the African National Congress has said it is "astonished" by reports that the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) is probing the root cause of the current wave of protests against service delivery in various municipalities.

Valuers to close restitution loophole - Didiza
Business Day - South Africa
Land Affairs Minister Thoko Didiza has moved to close the loophole that last year allowed farmers, valuers and corrupt officials to collude and inflate the price of land earmarked for restitution.

This follows the report in March this year showing that millions more than the market value was paid for farms in Mpumalanga. Didiza at the time said collusion between farmers, valuators and land affairs officials had resulted in government paying inflated prices for farms.

Under the scam, farmers inflated the value of their farms and valuators confirmed these valuations, which were then presented to corrupt government officials who then issued payment. The farmers then gave kickbacks to the official and valuator.
Business Day

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