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Absa tightens lending rules for property
Business Report - South Africa
Absa Group, the provider of one in every three home loans, tightened lending rules for residential property developments as it prepares for an increase in interest rates that may drive down house prices.

Local property prices rose more than 19 percent in the first eight months of this year, after gaining 32 percent last year, fuelled by the lowest borrowing costs in 25 years. The increase has lured South Africans into the so-called buy-to-rent market.
Business Report

Home loan gloves come off
Property24.com - South Africa
In the face of increasing competition and a slowing property market, the major mortgage lenders in SA are having to rethink a longstanding "gentlemen's agreement" to discourage bond switching and the poaching of existing home loan clients from one another.

And this is creating an opportunity for borrowers to collectively save millions of rands in home loan interest payments, says Ian Wason, CEO of independent mortgage brokerage Bond Busters.

Bond switching - or mortgage refinancing - is the practice of moving a home loan from one lender to another in order to take advantage of a better interest rate. But although the potential savings are huge, the practice is still in its infancy in South Africa, thanks to the fact that until recently, there has been very little to differentiate one lender's mortgage product offerings from another's.

MPs concerned by cracks in property, building charters
Business Report - South Africa
Parliamentarians have expressed concern about how black economic empowerment (BEE) companies would get access to the finance they would need to plug into the planned construction and property sector BEE charters.

They are also unhappy about the fact that building material suppliers, which make up a substantial part of the two sectors, opted out of the negotiations on the two charters, claiming that they would fall under the less stringent mining charter.

Lindelwa Mabuntana, a director in the department of public works, said after the department's briefing to the portfolio committee on public works that the committee members had, however, been pleased to hear that both charters should be finally approved and set in motion by the end of the year.
Business Report

Too early to say if Revenue has sorted stamp duty
The Herald - UK
Scottish property and conveyancing lawyers are increasingly hopeful that HM Revenue & Customs' much-criticised new system for submitting stamp duty land tax returns is at last beginning to improve.

The Law Society of Scotland said last week that omens for the new online facility appear promising, following a month-long pilot.

However, Isobel d'Inverno, convener of the society's tax law committee, warned: "It's still too early to say if we won't still see the delays and other problems our members have experienced so far in obtaining the certificates from HMRC to register property title using the existing systems.
The Herald

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