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Look to improve, not overcapitalise
Moneyweb - South Africa
Don't buy a house just because it's a bargain - you might end up with more than you bargained for, warns Bruce Swain, regional director of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.

Buying a property that is in less than perfect condition can save money, and can certainly be an opportunity to put your personal touch to the style of your new home, says Swain.

"But there are many challenges to renovating that should not be overlooked and owners should be realistic about what they're taking on," cautions Swain.

According to Swain, if the property is simply run down on the surface, often a coat of paint, some new fittings and routine maintenance is all it may need to bring it up to standard and increase its value.

Govt wants land, not money
News24.com - South Africa
Cape Town - The government wants to discourage financial compensation for land lost under apartheid in favour of actual property, a committee chair told parliament on Tuesday.

"Financial compensation should be discouraged as it does not offer lasting solutions to poverty," said the chair of the portfolio committee on land and agricultural affairs, Elizabeth Ngaleka, during a debate in the national assembly.

She said not only did financial compensation often lead to family strife and corruption, but it did nothing to change the distribution of land ownership.

Why Housing Plan Must Succeed
Property24.com - South Africa
Widespread protests recently over the non-delivery of housing for the poor have highlighted the urgent need for the new housing plan outlined by national Minister Lindiwe Sisulu in September last year to be given effect.

The plan, further detailed by the Minister during the parliamentary debate on her department's budget last month, aims to eradicate informal settlements by 2014 and place some 2,4-million households in proper homes in the process.

A cornerstone of the plan is the deal recently concluded by the Housing Department and the major banks, which commits the banks to make R42-billion worth of home loans to people earning between R3500 and R7000 a month in the next three years, and will see the State stand surety for 50 percent of the risk in these loans.

Expensive houses not selling
IAfrica.com - South Africa
Over-cautious buyers seem to be behind an apparent weakening in the top-end of the residential property market, an economist said on Tuesday.

Houses over R2-million were staying unsold for longer, and sellers had to be increasingly satisfied with more realistic prices, First National Bank chief economist Cees Bruggemans said in a statement.

This was despite historically low interest rates, a low debt servicing burden, and home loans forming only about one-third of average total debt.

The Ripple Effect
Rode's Property News - South Africa
Like a stone thrown into a pond, prosperity ripples out spatially from the areas where the strongest economic growth is happening. As is the case with a stone, the size of the economy at the particular growth point also determines how notable the ripples will be and how far they would move out from the centre before dissipating.

Rode's Report editor-in-chief Erwin Rode says that while it is useful to know that the ripple effect will inevitably take place around every significant growth point in an economy, it is not as easy to see or as immediate as the effect of a stone thrown into a still pond.
Rode's Property News

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