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Whither the Agents
PrivateProperty - South Africa
Nearly half of South African estate agents have left the industry in the past two years. What's going on?:

When times were good, all one needed to become an estate agent was a 'rust bucket' and a cell-phone. Upmarket agents had vehicles with four doors. It was the only industry where, with little education and a wide circle of acquaintances, one could earn a five-figure income. In a booming property market selling real estate was ideal for bored housewives, otherwise known as the 'handbag brigade'. The economic downturn has caused trouble in paradise and, by the looks of things, has changed the industry forever.

Agents are becoming rarer than wealthy hedge fund managers and many are leaving the industry at an astonishing rate.

Where have they gone and what are they doing? No one really seems to know. However, one thing is evident - the number of agents has dropped significantly over the past two years. According to the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB), agents who have left the industry number in the region of 42 000.

Why we should be sceptical about the house market
RodeReview - South Africa
There are many optimists out there who predict that house prices will start to recover by the end of 2009. Let's think this one through.

"Recover" needs to be defined, of course. If it means that prices will stop sliding in nominal terms, then this is remotely possible. But nominal prices that stop sliding are not the same as any meaningful rise. To rise significantly, prices have to exceed rises in inflation, which could either be regarded as consumer inflation (as in the CPI) or replacement costs. So how realistic are the medium-term prospects for real growth?

Lawyers feeling the pinch
Moneyweb - South Africa
Legal firms are feeling the pinch and having to retrench staff as a result of the recession - that's if the number of job applications received by Legal & Tax is anything to go by.

Legal & Tax, a company that offers affordable access to legal and tax advice and expenses insurance to the consumer, reports there has been a noticeable increase in job applications from lawyers since the beginning of the year. Last year, five applications per job specification were received. This year the number has jumped to 35.

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