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Home loans' Christmas blast
Moneyweb - South Africa
The other side of the residential-property market story - which tells of a 32% house price surge in 2004 - is the alarming rate at which South Africans are borrowing to pay for their trust in bricks and mortar. This and other categories of asset backed private credit continue to grow at an almost-indecent pace - a fact which the Reserve Bank's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) could hardly ignore when it deliberates the merits of adjusting interest rates at its February meeting.

Mortgage advances from the private banking sector totalled R411,8-bn in December, an eye-raising R8,9-bn more than in November. And, compared with year-on-year growth in overall private credit of 13,6%, home loans bulged by 24,1% in December.

Letting out some air<br> Moneyweb - South Africa
The national residential property market is set to peak this year, but don't expect prices to plummet. Global experts say price increases will slow, with the experience for investors more like a tyre letting out some air than a bubble bursting.

South Africa boasted the world's fastest rising residential property market last year, followed by Hong Kong and then Spain. And, though the pace has made many investors giddy, international real estate watchers believe there is no need to fear that there is a housing bubble that could burst here any time soon.

Culture Clash
Financial Mail - South Africa
Bank credit committees hold the fate of high-value property investments and developments in the palms of their hands. This means it's inevitable there will be a clash between the entrepreneurial flair of property developers and the caution of banks.

"The problem with credit committees is that it takes just one naysayer to quash an investment or development proposal. That could be someone who doesn't know a thing about property," says one disgruntled developer.
Financial Mail

Home buyers look abroad <br> Ic Teeside - UK
… (Y)oung people are joining the "jet-to-let" generation. They are looking abroad to take their first step on the property ladder because house prices are too high for them in the UK, according to a report by Oceanico Developments. Nearly half of the 18 to 29-year-olds questioned planned to buy abroad. However, if you decide to join them by buying overseas, you must be aware of the legalities, because property law can be fraught with difficulties.

No two countries in the world have the same legal systems, so the rules of buying a home or land have complicated idiosyncrasies, depending on location. To complicate things further, regions within countries may have their own property specific regulations.
IC Teeside

Boss stole $10 million
Herald Sun - Australia
A company director has admitted embezzling more than $10 million in stamp duty to finance his gambling addiction. In what is believed to be Victoria's biggest stamp duty fraud, Keith Fernandez milked $10.1 million in taxes owed to the State Revenue Office.
Herald Sun

Website speeds up property searches
The Mercury - Australia
An innovative Tasmanian online property service has slashed the amount of time it takes to find information about Tasmanian properties.

Internet-based AusProperty Search -- a joint project of Tasmanian firms Tas Land Search, Geometry and Human Solutions -- speeds up conveyancing by delivering accurate and comprehensive information about a parcel of land in just a few minutes.
The Mercury

The De Soto Delusion
Slate - USA
Author of The Mystery of Capital and The Other Path, armchair consultant to numerous heads of state, and white knight for the cause of property formalization-Hernando de Soto is practically the patron saint of the global elite. At last year's annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, Bill Clinton, the event's unofficial king, publicly declared that de Soto was "probably the world's most important living economist." For the left, de Soto has formulated the most seemingly practical ideas for reducing global poverty. For the right, de Soto offers the most compelling way to market capitalism to the poor.

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