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Property transfers give receiver tax gap
Business Day - South Africa
The South African Revenue Service (SARS) can delay the transfer of sales of property if buyers' and sellers' tax affairs are not in order, according to regulations which came into effect last month.

The regulations, which affect all taxpayers, including individuals, trusts and companies, require both the property seller and buyer to complete a declaration in terms of the Transfer Duty Act stating that their tax affairs are in order.

SARS spokesman Adrian Lackay said that SARS may appoint an agent, such as a conveyancer handling the sale of the property, to recover all outstanding taxes from the selling price.
Business Day

Homeowner claims statutory body failed to protect her
Sunday Times - South Africa
Irene Engelbrecht's house has a spectacular view across Plettenberg Bay. Unfortunately, it was built so badly that the local council has declared it unfit for habitation.

For the last three years the 55-year-old jeweller has watched lawyers' letters pile up in her rented apartment while the house stands empty on a hillside above the seaside town. But now Engelbrecht is taking legal action against the National Home Builders Registration Council in a ground-breaking case that will be heard in the Cape Town High Court. She claims the statutory body failed to protect her from a bogus builder.
Sunday Times

Finding a house in an expensive market
Moneyweb - South Africa
South African home prices - which rose 32% last year, according to the Absa index - are still high in many areas and whether you're a first-time buyer or a homeowner, it can take a while to find a house you can afford in a neighbourhood you like.

This has led some commentators, such as property economist Erwin Rode, to argue that given the current market conditions, renting is a better option. But Ben Stander, Old Mutual Properties product manager, gives some advice on finding a house in the present market.

Zimbabwe: driving out the rubbish
ISN - Zimbabwe
The government of Zimbabwe is selling its massive demolition program as regeneration, but many believe it is designed to remove populations from "disloyal" urban constituencies.

Simon Phiri and his wife Tsitsi desperately battle to salvage a few belongings from their shack before a bulldozer sent in by the Zimbabwean government razes it to the ground. With a bit of luck and the help of their four children, Simon, 39, and Tsitsi, 32, manage to save the family's most essential items - a bed, blankets, and kitchen utensils - before the bulldozer crushes their home. The shack, made from corrugated iron, cardboard and plastic, was where the Phiri family have lived for the past 12 years. Simon built it in the densely populated township of Mbare, just outside Harare, in 1993 and all his four children have been raised there.

First time buyers prop up housing market
Sunday Times - South Africa
The property bubble has not burst - to the contrary, price increases of about 20% are likely this year. The price of luxury houses is showing signs of tailing off but there are encouraging signs that low-to-middle income houses will continue to prop up the market this year.

The latest readings from the FNB Home Loans residential property barometer come at a time when both the property and construction sectors face new challenges as they formulate their transformation charter for presentation to the government in the next six weeks.
Sunday Times

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