Property 24/10 - 294

Successful land claimants receive title deeds
Rural Development and Land Reform Deputy Minister, Mcebisi Skwatsha, has handed over 32 title deeds to communities who successfully lodged their land claims. Four claimants were given financial compensation to the value of R50 million while five others got title deeds. All the claimants lodged their claims before the initial cut-off date in 1998.

Speaking prior to handing over of the title deeds, Minister Skwatsha said government is in a process of restoring dignity to all the communities who were forcefully removed from their land.

“We are restoring the dignity of people and building a new nation, a new South Africa,” he said.

Free sessions for agents to introduce new FIC system
The Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) has introduced a new financial registration and reporting system, goAML, and in order to get everyone up to date on how to use this, they will be hosting two interactive information sessions for all concerned on 11 March.

This is according to Annette Evans, general manager of the Institute of Estate Agents, Western Cape, who says they strongly advise principals and agents to enrol for this free session, as the information gleaned there will be invaluable as to how to use the system and how it affects day to day reporting.

Evans says the goAML system is an integrated software solution implemented by the FIC as its preferred IT platform for registration, reporting, data collection, analysis, case management and secure communications required for the FIC’s daily operational functions and requirements.

Current trends in real estate: Online home buying
Some of the most interesting research undertaken by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) in the US is its annual survey of home buyers and sellers, which reveals the biggest current trends in real estate, and especially how buyers go about finding their new homes.

This is according to Jan Davel, MD of the RealNet estate agency group, who says for example, the recently-released 2015 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers shows that in the US, first-time home buyers now make up just 32% of the market - despite the fact that interest rates in the US have been at record lows for several years, and that this percentage is still on a declining trend.

By contrast, first-time buyers still make up between 40% and 50% of the market in South Africa - depending on whose statistics you read - in spite of slow economic growth, high unemployment, higher interest rates than in the US and the tight lending criteria that have prevailed for the last few years.

Sectional title owners must take alterations seriously
Look at any block of flats and you will see some balconies enclosed to create extra living space. Check any townhouse complex and you’re likely to find some carports converted to storage areas, or drying yards turned into laundries, or patios made into studies or spare bedrooms.

This is according to Andrew Schaefer, MD of national property management company Trafalgar, who says the trouble is that whenever such alterations are made without the proper approvals, it could become difficult for the owners of these units - and their neighbours - to sell their units in future.

Schaefer says many sectional title owners are under the impression that, since they have paid for their units, they can alter them as they like. Others simply take advantage of disinterest on the part of other owners, or inadequate management by the trustees of their scheme, to do as they please.

5 Quirky factors that influence house prices
When it comes to property prices, many of us assume we know the factors that contribute to the value of those sky-high listings. Location, great design and finishes, as well as plenty of space, right?

Well, according to research done by some residential property experts in the UK, things aren’t actually as cut and dried as we might think. In fact, subconscious psychology may be playing just as big of a role in purchase decisions as straight-up facts according to Tony Clarke, managing director of the Rawson Property Group, who says there is definitely a great deal more to property purchases than just an objective assessment of the facts.

“Sure, there are some basic features that will always affect the perceived value of a home, but you should never underestimate those quirky little idiosyncrasies that influence buyers without their conscious knowledge,” he says.

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