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Property charter offers huge promise
Business Report - South Africa
The Property charter, which is due in the next two to three months, would unlock the single biggest property opportunity in the southern hemisphere, Stuart Chait, the chief executive of Property Partners, said this week.

He said the charter could lead the government and parastatals to release property worth between R200 billion and R300 billion. In addition, local companies would have to become compliant, which should see the release of a further 25.1 percent of their shareholding to black economic empowerment players.

According to Chait, only about 5 percent of South African property is in black hands. Chait said the charter "will make the property market in South Africa five to 10 times bigger". It would "create more wealth [for black people] than any of the other charters or probably all the charters combined".
Business Report

Don't be bulldozed
Moneyweb - South Africa
Don't be bulldozed into signing an offer to purchase, even if you're very keen to buy a property, that's the advice from Piet Botha, chairman of the Nationlink estate agency group.

Botha stresses that homebuyers - particularly first time buyers - should first read every clause in an offer to purchase and make sure they understand them all.

"Buyers should never be persuaded to sign an offer on the basis that they may 'lose' the property to a competing purchaser unless they make a hasty decision," charges Botha.

"And they should be wary of an agent who does not take the time to go through the document with them or is unable to fully explain anything that is unclear," he adds.

Builders renege on house-building contracts
The Post - Ireland
Director of Consumer Affairs Carmel Foley has launched an investigation into house-building contracts.

The probe was instigated after the consumer watchdog unearthed evidence which suggested that house builders are inserting unfair terms in contracts leaving buyers at a distinct disadvantage.

Foley, who already secured a High Court order prohibiting such unfair terms, said it was "outrageous and unacceptable'' that builders and solicitors continued to flout the law.
The Post

Property merry-go-round which keeps on turning
The Scotsman - UK
The health of the property market and solicitors' role in it are debated almost as often as a "for sale" sign goes up somewhere in Scotland.

As one half of the Law Society's professional practice team I, along with the director, Bruce Ritchie, receive from the profession more phone calls and e-mails about conveyancing than about any other issue. That might not come as such a surprise to many, as conveyancers make up a large part of the profession and buying and selling houses is very often the first and only contact people have with solicitors.
The Scotsman

Property title is the key to wealth creation, says De Soto
Business Report - South Africa
Africans did not own enough property, an international expert on poverty alleviation said yesterday.

Hernando de Soto, described as "arguably the greatest living economist" and by former US president Bill Clinton as the greatest poverty alleviation expert in the world, emphasised that the absence of legal property titles in Africa had stunted development.

Addressing an investment conference, he said: "The absence of legal title in Africa has stunted development." He added that the legal ownership of property spearheaded development and described it as the "staircase to social growth".
Business Report

House price growth slowing
Business.iafrica.com - South Africa
The growth of house prices gradually slowed over the past six months from 35.4 percent during last year's fourth quarter to 26.9 percent by March 2005, banking group Absa said on Wednesday.

The current trend could probably be explained by last year's below 10 percent pay rise and the fact that houses had generally become "less affordable", the group's senior economist Jacques du Toit said.

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