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20 February 2014

Conveyancing boom exposes skills ‘gap’
Law Gazette - UK
The first quarterly ‘Conveyancing sentiment’ survey, conducted by search provider Searchflow in association with the Gazette, also reveals that a large majority of firms are also brimming with confidence about the sustainability of the upturn.

Some 64% of partners and practice managers surveyed at 131 firms of all sizes reported that conveyancing volumes had grown by at least 10% compared with last year, while 23% reported a rise of at least a quarter.

Much of the growth has been driven by clients ‘walking through the door’ rather than referrals, with only 6% of firms reporting growth from lender panel instructions. Greater links with local estate agents resulted in increased referrals from that source for nearly a third of firms.
Law Gazette

Details to incorporate into a lease contract
IolProperty - South Africa
Last week we noted one of the proposed amendments in the Rental Housing Amendment Bill that would significantly change how parties enter into lease contracts. All leases must be in writing within the guidelines to be published by the Minister of Human Settlements, Connie September.

Apart from the guidelines, the lease must contain the following information set out in subsection 6:

  • The names of the tenant and the landlord and their addresses in South Africa for purposes of formal communication.
  • The description of the dwelling which is the subject of the lease.
  • Amount of rental of the dwelling and reasonable escalation, if any, to be paid in terms of the lease.
  • If rentals are not paid monthly, then the frequency of rental payments.


Residential Property Indices
Lightstone - South Africa
Total year-on-year national house price growth for 2013 was recorded at 7.4% which was 0.15% above Lightstone¶s optimistic forecast for the year. This was on the back of expected sluggish economic growth.

During 2014 most economists predict GDP to grow by between 2.5% and 3.0% and that CPI will move closer to the reserve bank's upper inflation target of 6.0%. The repo rate, unchanged in 2013, experienced a surprise hike of 50 basis points to 5.5% in January. With two of the three main drivers of house prices expected to remain stable while interest rates are a bit higher the Lightstone forecast for residential property price inflation for 2014 is slightly lower at 6.7 %.

Unless market conditions change dramatically, residential property price growth should close between 5.6% and 7.8%. The most likely factor that will subsidise more significant growth is an increased risk appetite from the banks. Bank risk appetite has remained relatively stable over the past 3 years but this may change as banks see signs of recovery in the economy. With just over 60% of the total value of new residential property transactions currently being bonded the risk appetite of banks plays a major role in the demand for formal housing and can be a big driver of house price inflation

The Australian property market's ability to attract foreign buyers is impressive - and SA's current situation should be similar
Rawson - South Africa
One of the aspects of the current Australian property market that most impressed him on his recent visit there, says Bill Rawson, Chairman of the Rawson Property Group, was the Australian property market’s ability to attract foreign property buyers, particularly those from China - and Asia in general.

“The influx and influence of these buyers, especially in the residential property sector,” says Rawson, “has been marked. It has raised prices of prime urban properties in all the major centres: Sydney, Perth, Adelaide and Brisbane. In one case that I came across, Chinese buyers had paid 20% above the market value for a Aus $40 million development in Sydney.”

One of the main factors fuelling confidence in the Australian property market, says Rawson, is the accuracy, detail and comprehensiveness of the statistics available to buyers and indeed to the public as a whole.

“In South Africa we are, I believe, rightly proud of our data compilation and analysis services, especially those put out by the banks and certain of the independent bodies like Lightstone,” says Rawson, “but nevertheless it became clear that by Australian standards we are very far behind.”

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