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Property taxes rise by stealth
The Daily Telegraph - Australia
A back-door method of increasing property-related transaction fees - in some cases by up to 400 per cent - is the State Government's latest way to claw money from real estate owners.

Facing a $360 million dollar loss of revenue from dropping the unpopular vendor duty, Finance Minister Michael Costa decided to increase at least 11 property-related fees and charges.

According to a Department of Lands document, fees for NSW Heritage Office property inquiries have risen from $20 to $100.
The Daily Telegraph

Property as a pension
Moneyweb - South Africa
Among the investors fuelling the latest residential property boom have been middle-income earners hoping to secure a minimum lifestyle in their golden years.

Millions of rands in savings are required to generate even a modest monthly income in retirement. These people can't realistically see how they can save all the money themselves from their salaries, so they use debt to boost their investment base.

For a deposit that is a relatively small portion of the total cost of an asset - usually 20% or less - you can buy a property and take out a bond to fund the balance.

Solicitors see changing profile of home buyers
Findaproperty.com - UK
A new survey looks at the difference in the types of home buyers over the last five years...
More than half (57 per cent) of residential surveyors agreed that their portfolio of clients has become more complex in that time, according to an independent survey conducted for Zurich Professional, the largest insurer of solicitors in England and Wales.

The reason for the complexity? Fifty-two per cent of the solicitors surveyed have seen an increase in the number of same sex couples buying property together; 46 per cent have noticed a rise in investors and unmarried couples on their books; and 40 per cent have more single buyers as clients.

Lawyers slam HBoS home sale fees plan
The Scotsman - UK
Plans by banking giant HBoS to introduce a fixed-fee conveyancing service through its Scottish branch network have sparked a backlash among the Capital's legal community.
Solicitors have accused the group, which is gearing up for a roll-out next month, of "biting off the hand that feeds it".

The new service will charge customers a fixed-fee depending on the property value, ranging from about £480 for the sale or purchase of a home worth up to £60,000, to around £1700 for a property in the £1 million to £2m bracket. A key selling point is a "no sale, no fee" guarantee.
The Scotsman

What buyers need to know
Property24.com - South Africa
The Constitution gives SA consumers many rights that they did not have before, but when it comes to buying property, you may find things are not quite as clear-cut as you would wish.

So says Gerhard Kotzé, CEO of ERA South Africa, who notes that confusion usually sets in around latent and patent defects. "If they are patent (obvious) there should be no problem. If they are latent (hidden or not obvious), however, it could be a different story.

"You can argue that there's a moral obligation for sellers to declare any latent defects that they are aware of - and you would be right. But that won't help if the sellers claim they were unaware of a defect. And in any case most home sale transactions in this country are carried out on a "voetstoots" or as-is basis.

Market and fundamental valuations often confused
Rode.co.za - South Africa
It is not uncommon for property market commentators to confuse market valuations with, what Rode terms, fundamental or speculative valuations.

"A valuer's task is to consider empirical data in the form of actual sales when determining the market value of a property", says Erwin Rode, editor-in-chief of Rode's Report, a quarterly publication on the state of the local property market.

"When we're doing a market valuation, we have to objectively weigh up the actual market data and apply that to determine the net asset value of properties."

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