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Mike Spencer on banks tighten lending
RodneyHayter.com - South Africa
ABSA, South Africa's largest bank, has announced an increase in the deposit that potential homebuyers must pay when asking for a home loan.

Before 1999 all banks insisted that homebuyers contribute something as a deposit when buying a home. Previously this was a 20% deposit across the board. As the house market warmed up in the early part of the 21st century banks started to reduce the amount of the deposit required and eventually to offer 108% bond which included transfer and bond costs.

Although the banks had been warned by a number of leading Estate Agents, that this was an unhealthy lending policy and could lead to future financial difficulties by home owners they have allowed many lenders to take high percentage loans. Recent strong rises in interest rates has caused considerably affordability problems.

Joint venture allows automated system for producing Hips
Homemove.co.uk - UK
Hammonds Direct, a provider of conveyancing services, has teamed up with Skywire Software and has implemented a new automated system for producing Home Information Packs (Hips).

The new system uses Documanage (the robust workflow and content management component of Docuflex) which is Skywire's leading customer communications management (CCM) suite for financial services.

Hips were introduced to speed up the home buying and selling process as well as providing consumers with a faster and more cost effective service.

They were launched on August 1 to include properties with 4-bedrooms or more and rolled-out to include 3-bedroom properties on September 10. They included all properties from December 14 last year.

Beware: a return to dark interest rate days
Realestateweb.co.za - South Africa

We may not get to 25% interest rates, but pain is going to feel the same.

That's the message in a new report by FNB Home Loans' property strategist John Loos, who suggests that if the rate gets to 18% there will be dire financial consequences for many households.
"The rising cycle of debt servicing costs still appears normal by historic standards, but the household sector can't handle too much more rate hiking," warned Loos on Monday.
Last week, Absa's property strategist Jacques du Toit told Realestateweb.co.za that interest rates were unlikely to soar above 20%. The economy, he said, would not be able to handle this.

Already, rising interest rates have dealt a serious blow to sectors dependant on consumer spending. The property market in particular has taken a serious knock, with sales volumes down dramatically.

Owners in lower to middle-income areas in particular are taking strain as, over-and-above interest repayments, they are hardest hit by soaring food and fuel prices.

Land bill faces legal challenge
Fin24.com - South Africa
AfriForum, a pressure group allied to the right wing Freedom Front Plus, is threatening to take the expropriation bill to the constitutional court, because, they say, it breaches rights to property, the right to access to the courts, and to just administrative action.

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