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Waterfront sale to boost equity
Business Day - South Africa
The proposed sale of Transnet's investment in the Victoria & Alfred (V&A) Waterfront in Cape Town will be a huge boost to black economic empowerment in the historically white-dominated property industry.

Public Enterprises Minister Alec Erwin said in Parliament last week that transport utility Transnet would offload its investment in the "noncore" V&A Waterfront development, along with various other disposals from other state organs.

Erwin also said such sales by the state would have a strong broad-based black economic empowerment component.
Business Day

FNB's property barometer shows buyers now firmly in driving seat
Business Report - South Africa
The residential property market is shifting from a seller's to a buyer's market, with 47 percent of sellers not realising their asking price in the fourth quarter of last year, according to the latest FNB residential property barometer.

First-time house buyers were also not being forced out of the market by the steep rise in home prices over the past two years.

Ed Grondel, the chief executive of FNB HomeLoans, said yesterday first-time house buyers were continuing to grow the residential property market and comprised 26 percent of buyers in the fourth quarter of last year.
Business Report

Mortgage cowboys revealed
The Scotsman - UK
A nationwide crackdown on unauthorised brokers has revealed as many as 100 firms in Edinburgh and Glasgow are arranging mortgages illegally.

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has been running a pilot scheme in Scotland before it examines mortgage traders throughout the rest of the UK.

The organisation is investigating firms which may be breaking the law by conducting mortgage business without seeking the necessary authorisation, following the start of mortgage regulation on 31 October last year.
The Scotsman

Johannesburg town planners resign en masse
Business Day - South Africa
Lindsay Williams gets Brian Kirchmann from the South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA) on the line to discuss the problem at the Johannesburg Town Planning Department.

LINDSAY WILLIAMS: If I look at the towns in South Africa - particularly Johannesburg - one wonders if there ever has been a town planner! Apparently it is a serious problem - developers say they have been told more than 50% of the Johannesburg town planners resigned en masse in December. Is it true - have we lost 50% in the last couple of months?
Business Day

Just like home
Moneyweb - South Africa
"As housing prices keep rising year after year, real estate has become a national obsession - and a more powerful economic engine." Sound just like South Africa, doesn't it? But this statement comes from an article published in the New York Times over the weekend.

The numbers are a little different (with total house sales in the US last year amounting to roughly $2,2-trn according to the National Association of Realtors), and many would argue that "the industry (in either country) couldn't function without the armies of agents who help buyers and sellers reach mutually agreeable terms…"

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