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Residential building statistics
Absa - South Africa
Improved levels of residential building activity in the second quarter

Building activity with regard to new private sector-financed housing (see explanatory notes) in South Africa saw some improvement in the second quarter of 2015, based on data published by Statistics South Africa. This uptick in activity levels in both the planning and construction phases of new housing came after contractions in some segments of the market in recent quarters. However, residential building activity still remained well below the levels of 2005-08.

Growth in the number of new housing units for which building plans were approved was markedly higher at 17,6% year-on-year (y/y) to about 16 600 units in the second quarter of the year. The first half of 2015 saw the number of plans approved rising by 3,6% y/y to more than 29 100 units. The improvement in the planning phase in the second quarter of the year was largely driven by the segment for houses smaller than 80m², which recorded growth of almost 51% y/y to 6 114 units, whereas growth in the segments for houses larger than 80m² and flats and townhouses slowed down from the preceding quarter.

The number of new housing units constructed increased sharply by almost 32% y/y to 10 627 units in the second quarter of 2015, which contributed to growth of 10,8% y/y to a total of about 19 100 units in the first half of the year. The strong second-quarter growth was mainly the result of a 47,6% y/y improvement in the number of new houses built, excluding the segment of flat and townhouses, which showed growth of only 4,3% y/y in the second quarter.
Building stats Jun 2015

Heritage property ownership in South Africa
Rawson - South Africa
There's nothing quite like the romance, charm and grace of a heritage property, but many people are wary of buying into the historic market for a variety of reasons.

'For some, it's the expectation of high prices and excessive maintenance that puts them off; for others, it’s the seemingly endless rules and regulations governing their preservation and care. According to Tony Clarke, Managing Director of the Rawson Property Group, however, the realities of owning a heritage property are not always as imposing as they may seem.''

"There are a lot of benefits to owning a heritage property, Clarke reveals. Some of them are intangible - the pride and prestige that comes from owning something truly one-of-a-kind; of living in, and taking care of a real piece of our country's past - and some of them are actually quite down-to-earth and practical.

He goes on to explain that many heritage properties in South Africa occupy prime locations on larger-than-normal, well-established grounds. Their rooms tend to be more spacious and elegantly proportioned than their modern counterparts, and their high ceilings and architectural detailing are often complemented by luxury finishes like hardwoods and exotic marble.
Heritage property ownership

Property audit due for completion
IolProperty - South Africa
A second land audit due to be completed next month will give the government details that show the pattern and racial profile of private land ownership. Authorities hope the audit will be an improvement on the first, which did not include the race and gender of owners.

The first audit, commissioned in 2010 and released last year, showed that more than 79 percent of land was privately owned, while the state owned 14 percent. The audit could not determine the exact ownership of the remaining 7 percent.

Discussion documents prepared for the ANC's national general council (NGC) in October describe the land management system as fragmented. Information on land ownership by trusts and companies was held by different departments, making it more complicated to collect.

Johannesburg Deeds Office Notice
Rates Clearance Certificates
All conveyancers should take note of a new practice directive in the Jhb Deeds Office which requires a sticker to be placed on the lodgement cover indicating that the Rates Clearance Certificate inside will lapse ten days (or more) before month end.
Deeds Office procedure - RCC stickers

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