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Delays in property transfers
Moneyweb - South Africa
The South African Revenue Service's (SARS) decision to withhold property transfers if income taxes are not up to date could disrupt the current efficient smooth flow of transactions through the deeds office, says Herschel Jawitz, CEO of Jawitz Properties.

Jawitz argues that while the new legislation is consistent with SARS' ongoing efforts to streamline tax collection, the process needs to be carefully managed so as not to disrupt what is, at present, an efficient-ownership system.

"In addition the cost of such compliance in terms of time, infrastructure and people needs to be taken into account," Jawitz.

Farmers kick against municipal rates bills
Business Day - South Africa
Commercial farmers' unions have come out against decisions by some municipalities to impose land rates without consulting the farmers.

Free State farmers have received tax bills from Mantsopa, Nala, Nketoana and Moqhaka municipalities. In Gauteng, Dinokeng, Nkungwini and Mfuleni districts have sent out invoices to farmers.

However, Agri Free State said yesterday it wanted the municipalities to wait until tomorrow, when the Property Rates Act comes into effect.
Business Day

Credit under the Microscope
Property24 - South Africa
Homebuyers and other borrowers can expect much closer scrutiny of their financial affairs before they are granted any loans or credit in future.

That's because new credit legislation due to be passed in October will put the onus on credit lenders, including banks, retailers and micro lenders, to make proper assessments of whether would-be borrowers are in a position to satisfy all their existing credit repayment obligations as well as those on any new loan.

A mortgage lender, for example, will have to take into consideration what a potential borrower might already be paying off on a car, credit card, furniture, retail account, education loan or tax bill, and assess whether the remainder of his income will be sufficient to cover the instalment on a home loan as well as necessities.

Land sale with fake papers
Telegraph - India
A section of unscrupulous government officials, in connivance with brokers, has sold off government land in Mango to private parties by forging documents.

East Singhbhum deputy commissioner Nitin Madan Kulkarni today informed that so far 36 decimal of government land had been sold off to the private parties by forging the khatiyan and land rent receipts.

The matter came to light following a detailed inquiry by the deputy commissioner himself after he received a complaint from a city resident last week. After cross-examining the details provided in the letter, Kulkarni stumbled upon the racket.

IBM bags £21m Land Registry e-conveyancing deal
Silicon.com - UK
The Land Registry's delayed electronic conveyancing service for house buyers in England and Wales is set to be piloted in 2007 as part of a £21m deal signed with IBM.

The e-conveyancing service will eventually replace the current paper-based system with electronic documents and signatures that will make it quicker and cheaper to exchange documents and transfer funds when buying and selling properties.

The project was initially planned as a 'big bang' approach that would be piloted in 2005 but after consultation with stakeholders the Land Registry opted to introduce the electronic service in stages. The pilot of the full service was then retargeted for 2006 but that has now slipped to 2007.

Are we an abnormal society?
Moneyweb - South Africa
Providing education about the workings of the property market can go a long way in fuelling transformation in the real estate industry and invigorating the secondary market, argues property economist Francois Viruly.

The property industry is crying out for transformation after a recent survey found that 96% of the sector is in white hands and blacks control 4% of the market.

Eskel Jawitz, chairman of Jawitz Properties, conceded that for historical reasons, South Africa is an abnormal society, given separate developments that characterise the property market.

Speaking at a round table discussion on transformation in the property industry, Viruly says correct and prompt information about prices and the dynamics of the marketplace are crucial to the secondary market. The secondary market is the previously excluded market in black areas.

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