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Property Barometer - April House Price Index
FNB - South Africa
April FNB House Price Index shows further year-on-year acceleration, but a moderation in coming months is expected.
The FNB House Price Index showed a further acceleration in April, up from a revised March growth rate of 8.1% to 8.6% year-on-year. This is the highest year-on-year growth since June 2010.

In real terms, too, as at March the index showed a mild increase to the tune of +2% year-on-year, with consumer price inflation in that month having come in at 6%. This still means that since the real house price peak reached in February 2008, real house prices (house prices adjusted for CPI inflation over the period) were -12.6% lower at March 2012, although in nominal terms they were +13.3% higher than February 2008.

However, compared to price levels at the inception of the FNB House Price Index back in July 2000, real prices were 70.3% higher as at March 2012, while nominal price +231.7% higher as at April 2012.  
FNB Property Barometer_Apr 2012 House Price Index

End of the road for bricks and mortar?
Moneyweb - South Africa
Alternatives could save you up to 35% and more on electricity costs alone.
JOHANNESBURG – Property developers worth their salt appear to be seeking alternative building materials to the traditional bricks and mortar, but say the public at large seems resistant to change. CEO of listed Calgro M3 Holdings, Ben Pierre Malherbe, says: “There’s still some resistance in the market …we need a process of educating our market.”

Head of Ennik Estates, Ronald Ennik, concurs saying there is still a conservative approach to building materials in the South African market, unlike its European and American markets where timber, for example, is an acceptable and viable option. Senamele Mazibuko, sector manager for Paris-based Saint-Gobain Gyproc, which specialises in international habitat and construction markets, says the company has seen an upswing in interest in alternative building materials.  

Outcome of recent constitutional court case crucial to future of SA property development, says Rawson MD
Rawson - South Africa
As yet, says Tony Clarke, MD of Rawson Properties, the multi-faceted residential property marketers now expanding throughout South Africa, the property sector (with a few exceptions) has not yet appreciated the huge significance of the Aengus Lifestyle Properties vs Inner City Resource Centre Constitutional Court case.

The background to this case is that a property developer bought a rundown, old fashioned block of apartments in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, an area which is much in demand by tenants, especially students, on account of its strategic position.

The developer then made known to the tenants his plan to renovate and upgrade the units – as a result of which, he said, rents would have to be raised 100 to 150%.

This was shattering to the tenants concerned because they had been paying very low rents, some of which were said to be under R1 200 per month. Furthermore, some of the tenants had lived there for over ten years.

Tshwane Council may not levy 'illegal use' rates on properties
Iol - South Africa
In a judgment that could be of importance to Pretoria property owners whose rates and taxes have significantly escalated over the years, the Pretoria High Court has ruled that the Tshwane Metro Council is not allowed to include a category of "illegal use" in its rating policy.

When the council adopted its municipal property rates policy in terms of the Municipality Property Rates Act, it created a category known as "illegal use".

This was used to levy rates and taxes on an exorbitant scale on properties it believed to be in contravention of the property's zoning.

Law firm Marius Blom & GC Germishuizen Inc approached the court to have this policy declared unlawful.

Lawyer Marius Blom said he had suddenly noticed an additional amount of more than R100 000 on the rates and taxes bill of the property in Duncan Street, Brooklyn, from where they run their firm.

"This illegal category (was used to rate) the property. It was also retrospective from the date of the inception of the rates policy."

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