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"House price growth lower than expected"
Moneyweb - South Africa
House price growth is expected to be 11,1% for this year, followed by increases of 8,4% in 2007. This is the view of John Loos, property economist at FNB.

Previously, the bank estimated average house price increases of 11,8% for 2006 but revised its forecast after the Reserve Bank increased the repo rate by 50 basis points on June 8. According to Loos' quarterly residential property update, he expects average house price inflation for next year to be "well into the single-digit figures" with some recovery from 2008-2010.

Investors left wondering whether the property party is finally over
Business Day - South Africa
Is the party over for listed property in terms of capital growth? That is the question on investors' lips as the sector continues to shed value on the back of interest rate jitters in SA. Unit prices of the sector, which has had boom times for the past three years, have shed about 20% since May. On Friday alone, the sector lost more than 4% of its value.

Reserve Bank governor Tito Mboweni warned last week that further interest rate hikes were possible after the current account deficit had soared to 6,4% of gross domestic product from 4,5% in the previous three months. He attributed this to the fact that money was too cheap.
Business Day

Govt plans to speed up land reform
SABC - South Africa
Land reform is set to pick up new pace following an agreement on co-operation between government and the private sector. The deal will help in efforts to meet the land restitution deadline of 2008.

Business leaders involved in the agriculture sector and farmers' unions have agreed to make land available for government's restitution programme. This has emerged at the Presidential commercial agriculture working group meeting at the Union Buildings in Pretoria. It was attended by President Thabo Mbeki and the representatives of farmers' unions as well as private sector leaders.

Bonds are 46% of domestic credit
Property24.co.za - South Africa
Although the number of mortgage loans on houses and other properties awarded have had their best growth in April since 1965, they may in fact have reached their peak.

The latest data from the Reserve Bank shows that bond advances in April had increased year on year by 30,1%, compared to 30% in March. This means that the total amount of bond advances to date is R571 billion.

Month on month, April exhibited growth of 2%, which is somewhat lower than the growth of 2,4% in March.

According to Mr Jacques du Toit, senior economist at Absa, it's hard to say whether growth has reached an upper turning point by examining only two months' figures, but it would appear that growth had been levelling out at least on the short term.

Investors watch court grilling over $7.5m collapse
Herald Sun - Australia
A failed businessman who headed a company that collapsed owing $7.5 million has faced a public grilling over the missing money.

Several mum-and-dad investors left out of pocket watched as former conveyancing firm chief Robert Ewen Day was quizzed in court yesterday over alleged forged signatures, fake company seals and sham mortgages.

Geelong's Grove Conveyancing Services folded in late 2004, owing money to more than 150 prospective home buyers. Some alleged victims were also burnt in the Geelong-based Pyramid Building Society scandal.
Herald Sun

Buying, not renting, still most popular
Sunday Times - South Africa
Property experts say interest rates will have to go up a few more notches before more people start renting rather than buying homes.

Seeff Properties chairman Samuel Seeff said the market would absorb the interest rate increase comfortably and remain relatively unaffected.

"The interest rate will have to go up at a far greater scale before we see more demand for rental property," said Seeff. "South Africans are a nation of home owners rather than renters and I don't see that changing."

But some say the future looks gloomy for first-time buyers as speculation grows that another hike by Reserve Bank Governor Tito Mboweni could be on the cards after the 0.5 percentage point increase earlier this month.
Sunday Times

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