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Streamline steams ahead
Streamline - South Africa
In an application brought by L@W against Streamline Solutions and others, Mr. Justice Davis ruled on Monday, 30 November that L@W's application is dismissed - with costs - by the Western Cape High Court.

Franz Hirschberg (CEO - Streamline Solutions) says that Streamline can now concentrate on doing what it does best: "providing an expanded and enhanced municipal rates switching service between attorneys and municipal councils".

FNB House Price Index
FNB - South Africa
Although this is the first month of return to year-on-year price increase, the November number is actually just the continuation of an improving trend which started in the form of diminishing house price deflation from around June, a lagged response to gradually rising demand from early in the year as interest rates began to fall.

The improving demand and price situation makes for the likelihood of a better year in 2010, with not only the rest of this year's interest rate stimulus still to feed through but also increasing signs of economic growth recovery. The SARB Leading Business Cycle Indicator continues its month-by-month rise, and real economic growth has emerged from negative territory to record a 0.9% quarter-on-quarter annualised rate in the 3rd quarter.

The pace at which house prices have returned to inflation, a few months earlier than previously expected, leads us to believe that our previous forecast of 5% average price increase for 2010 is slightly on the conservative side, and that an upward revision would be in order. We remain expectant of single-digit average price inflation for next year, but a slightly higher rate than the previous forecast to the tune of 7-8%.
FNB House Price Index

FNB Mortgages and Household credit
FNB - South Africa
Nothing in the mortgage and household sector credit data comes as a surprise. Given the lengthy lag between new lending trend changes and those of the outstanding book, one can expect the growth decline to continue through much of 2010, and this should include a period of negative growth both in mortgage loans outstanding as well as total household sector credit.

With the economy emerging from recession, which should translate into some recovery in household disposable income growth from recently weak levels, the steadily diminishing growth in household credit outstanding should lead to more significant progress being made
in reducing the currently-high debt-to-disposable income ratio of the household sector. The most recent figure for the debt-to-disposable income ratio was 76.3% (2nd quarter) which, while not at a "crisis" level, remained near the historic high reached early in 2008. This high
debt ratio has been instrumental in prohibiting the household sector from responding "aggressively" to significant interest rate cuts this year, and the start of a more noteworthy decline in the ratio in 2010 would ultimately put the household sector on a more healthy financial "platform".

A lower debt ratio prior to the next interest rate hiking cycle would significantly reduce the negative impact of such rate hiking on the property and household sector.
FNB October Mortgages and Household Credit

2010 impact to be long-term
Property24.com - South Africa
The South African property market is performing well compared to other global markets and the World Cup will affect the real estate market over the long term.

"South Africa is one of the better performing global real estate markets. When comparing sales activities and signs of market recovery with the other 72 countries RE/MAX International operates in, South Africa is one of the forerunners. Over the last two months, we have seen a gradual improvement in the number of national property sales transactions in the country. This is a result of the change in the credit lending criteria from the banks, and the interest rate reductions by the MPC," says RE/MAX International's Vice President for Franchise Sales, Peter Gilmour.

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