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The danger of 100% home loans
Moneyweb - South Africa
Is there any point in paying a deposit on a home when interest rates are still so low and banks are willing to grant 100% loans?

Rudi Botha, CEO of mortgage originator PA BetterBond, says that many buyers take the view that they would rather use their cash to pay transaction costs than for a deposit, and buy a more expensive property using a 100% loan.

He adds that others might just prefer to keep the cash for moving expenses, or new appliances, or perhaps immediate renovations to their new home, and it has certainly not been difficult to obtain 100% or no-deposit loans in recent years. "In fact, a very large percentage of the loans we obtained for buyers over the past three years have been for 100% or more of the purchase price - 108% loans having been available to first time buyers to include the transaction costs."

White farmers set to lose land
News24.com - South Africa
South Africa will from next month start large-scale expropriations of land from white farmers after years of fruitless compensation negotiations, a top official told AFP on Monday.

Tozi Gwanya, South Africa's chief land claims commissioner, said the "willing buyer, willing seller" model would no longer apply to land restitution claims as many white farmers wanted more money than the government was prepared to pay.

"There are in excess of 7 000 claims that have been outstanding," he said, referring to efforts by the government to redress apartheid-era land grabs in which many members of the black majority lost ancestral holdings.

Land Registry set to give property chains a helping hand
Property News - UK
Land Registry is set to trial a prototype 'chain matrix' service, one of the key elements of its e-conveyancing system, between Autumn 2006 and Spring 2007.

The prototype chain matrix allows conveyancers, their clients and selected estate agents to view the progress of property transactions in chains on a dedicated website. This means that they will be able to see if there are any delays in particular transactions, what is causing them, and when exchange and completion have taken place.

Bristol, Portsmouth and Fareham have been chosen for the six month trial. Conveyancers in those areas, dealing with the sale and purchase of properties, will be able to update details of the progress of the transactions in the matrix and, using the notepad facility, leave messages for other participants in the chain.
Property News

Commission sets deadline for land claims
Business Day - South Africa
The Land Claims Commission has set a March 2008 deadline to settle all land claims and will begin expropriation next month of land where negotiations with owners have dragged on for more than three years.

Tozi Gwanya, chief land claims commissioner, said yesterday the commission was under pressure from President Thabo Mbeki to settle the claims, which were meant to be resolved by December last year.

The commission said the farming community had complained that the lack of finality was making it difficult for them to plan ahead or to get bank loans.
Business Day

House price growth still on the decline
NetAssets - South Africa
House price growth is continuing its declining trend with prices slowing to 14,9% annual nominal growth last month compared with a revised rate of 15,5% in December last year, according to the latest Absa house price index.

Since house price growth peaked at more than 35% in September and October 2004, there has been a declining trend as high prices squeeze buyers in all segments of the residential property market and cause demand to fall.

Absa senior economist Jacques du Toit said yesterday that the average price of a house in the middle segment of the market was about R752 300 in January this year.

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