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Housing demand growing faster than delivery - minister
Business Day - South Africa
Rapid urbanisation was causing the demand for housing to grow faster than the government could deliver it, Housing Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said on Friday.

"At this rate we are not going to get very far. We have a serious problem," she told the Black Management Forum (BMF)in Johannesburg.

Of South Africa's 2,4 million informal households, only 800,000 were on the government's waiting list, she said.

Africa's urban growth rate was currently at 4 %, twice as high as that of Latin America and Asia, the speed of which had caught governments unaware.
Business Day

Re/Max Paperless 'Family of Systems' goes global
Property24.com - South Africa
RE/MAX New Zealand has purchased a usage license for the operating system developed by White Wall Web, a Cape Town-based web application development consultancy and RE/MAX of southern Africa's system development partner.

The RE/MAX Family of Systems includes RE/MAX Connect - a corporate extranet, RE/MAX Pulse - an advanced web-based billing system, property listing management software and a public web component as seen at www.remax.co.za

The system adds business value to a RE/MAX region by automating processes and enabling increased organizational efficiency and effectiveness.

In southern Africa, RE/MAX has over 2000 system users operating from disparate locations in 5 countries. As the largest real estate group in South Africa, the system has to manage fees and invoicing for over 150 offices and more than 15 000 property listings at any one time. In addition to managing all this data, the RE/MAX Family of Systems is also required to push data to and pull data from third party property portals.

Mortgage loans decline
Sunday Times - South Africa
The ratio of South African non-performing mortgage loans (NPL) to total mortgage advances declined further to 1.2% in the second quarter of 2005, from 1.5% in the first quarter, the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) said in its latest Financial Stability Review (FSR) released today.

Despite the marginal increase in the ratio of mortgage debt to market value of housing in the second quarter of 2005 to 50.1% from 49.7% in the first quarter of 2005, the historical trend in the ratio is still declining, which is a positive development for financial stability, and the overall South African financial system is sound.

The banking sector remained healthy as the asset quality and profitability of banks improved, and they remained well capitalised.
Sunday Times

Are property prices falling?
Iafrica.com - South Africa
Bruce Whitfield:
The Reserve Bank is saying there's a risk of stagnation in the property market. Your view?

Herschel Jawitz:
I think we need to differentiate between declining prices and a slowing market. In other words, prices increasing at a slower rate. And we've already begun to see prices increasing at a significantly slower rate in the last quarter than we have in the beginning of the year and last year. I think unless we see a real interest rate shock I would be surprised if we reach a point in the near future of declining prices.

Bruce Whitfield:
Certainly the Reserve Bank using the term stagnation or even declines. It's suggesting that there's a real risk that the property market could hit a brick wall.

Bill offers tax incentive to developers
Business Day - South Africa
Last-minute amendments to the draft Revenue Laws Amendment Bill will result in a wider application for an urban development-zone incentive aimed at fostering refurbishment of inner-city areas.

This offers refurbishers in designated development zones a five-year accelerated depreciation allowance for their investment in construction or building refurbishment.

In later years this will offset maintenance and repair costs, resulting in a level effect on earnings throughout the useful life of the asset. Designated development zones include the main metropolitan areas such as Cape Town, Johannesburg and Tshwane.
Business Day

Company sells land on the moon
Business.iafrica.com - South Africa
A US company has set up operations in China to sell land on the moon for 289 yuan ($37) an acre, cashing in on renewed interest in space travel after the successful five-day voyage of Shenzhou VI.

The so-called Lunar Embassy, touted as the first extraterrestrial estate agency, started operations on Wednesday in Beijing, the China Daily reported.

It will issue customers a "certificate" that ensures property ownership, including rights to use the land and minerals up to three kilometres (1.8 miles) underground, said Li Jie, agent for the company in China.

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