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Impact of lower transfer duties on old vs new houses
Rode.co.za - Rode
Developers always make sure that signboards at new residential properties boldly state: "No transfer duty". In the minds of potential buyers, this factor often sways their decision in favour of a new house rather than a recent-model second-hand home.

Of course, VAT-registered developers have to charge VAT on sales, and when a buyer pays VAT, transfer duty is not levied by SARS. In practice, developers often pay VAT on behalf of the buyer, but only the naïve will believe that the 14% VAT is not factored into the price.

Estate agents back bid to cut sharp practices
Thisisguernsey.com - UK
The call comes from estate agents and mortgage brokers following a BBC documentary exposing illegal practices by some London-based firms.

In Guernsey, there is nothing stopping anybody from selling property without qualifications or professional expertise.

The programme highlighted agents fraudulently altering contracts, forging signatures and providing false valuations to improve sales figures. Others were seen taking bribes to secure properties at knock-down prices and one even supplied a forged passport for a mortgage application.

Martel Maides director Nick Renny said that homeowners should not be unduly alarmed because such practices were unlikely to be widespread locally.

Buying property from foreigners
business.iafrica.com - South Africa
Bruce Whitfield deals with the tricky issue of buying property from foreigners, and whom the tax burden lies with in such a transaction.

Bruce Whitfield:
Anyone who has bought or sold property knows just how stressful it can get. You have got loads of forms, agreements, contracts between buyers and sellers, with estate agents and banks.

It is about to get a bit trickier, especially if you buy property worth more than R2-million from a foreigner. Charles de Wet from PriceWaterhouseCoopers is a tax partner there in their Cape Town office.

Charles, what is the background to this particular issue? It looks like it is government trying to pass the responsibility of land ownership and foreign land ownership on to ordinary South Africans.

State should share the risk burden
Financial Mail - South Africa
The banks' efforts to fund low-cost housing projects are being frustrated by a lack of support from government and the slow pace of developing a sufficient number of affordable homes.

Banks feel they are blamed unfairly for the lack of progress in the delivery of housing for SA's poor. They have been criticised for not moving fast enough in devising a solution for funding low-cost housing, having said they have a plan ready but that the problem lies with other industry players.

In particular, banks point to government's refusal to share risks and to the insufficient supply of housing stock.

"We don't want to get into a public dispute with government but we believe there are critical impediments to the housing issue," says Banking Association MD Cas Coovadia.

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