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Township home demand boosts FNB
Business.iafrica.com - South Africa
Demand for residential property in the townships has seen First National Bank's home loan sales soar by more than 20 percent in the bank's R800-million housing project in Glen Ridge, Soweto, over the past three months.

More than 800 three-bedroom houses costing R168 000 each have been sold in phase one of the project, which was launched in May 2006 to build 3035 houses.

FNB has approved a total of 822 applications for end-user finance. Of these, more than 500 are 100 percent financed by the bank, while 68 combine home loans with a government subsidy.

Applicants earning a gross monthly household income of not more than R3500 qualify for a government subsidy.

Mass culling of surplus estate agents on the way
Sunday Times - South Africa
The good times are over for estate agents in the residential property market as rising interest rates turn on the heat and buyers stay away.

"We've had a fantastic rainy season, but with the rains have come many weeds. And when the dry season arrives only the trees will be left standing," said Neville McIntyre, chief executive of Jigsaw Holdings, which includes estate agencies Aida and Realty.

McIntyre said the number of agents had increased from about 57000 in May last year to the current 77000.

This, he said, was because of the low requirements for entry to the occupation - no qualifications are required to become an estate agent.

McIntyre said the industry had the capacity to cope with only 32000 to 36000 agents. He foresees "a major fallout" of estate agents as soon as the residential property market tightens further.
Sunday Times

Real estate burgeons on the Net
Sunday Times - South Africa
Technology is transforming how Americans buy and sell homes - underlining a global trend that is becoming increasingly apparent in South Africa too.

Rajhev Rajkumar, general manager of PropertyGenie.co.za, South Africa's most comprehensive property listing website, says that, according to a study by the National Association of Realtors in the US, one of the largest surveys of real-estate consumers, use of the Internet to search for a home has "risen dramatically".

"In the US, use of the Internet to search for a home has risen from only 2% of buyers in 1995 to 74% in 2004 and 77% in 2005.
Sunday Times

Interest-only home loans hit SA
Business Day - South Africa
SA Home Loans is offering customers the option of paying only the interest on their home loans, the first time such a product has been offered in SA.

The new product, to be launched next week, is aimed at giving customers more flexibility in their mortgage payments, said CEO Kevin Penwarden yesterday.

While mortgage providers overseas give customers the option of paying interest only for the term of their home loan, allowing them to invest the capital in other vehicles, Penwarden said that SA Home Loans' new product was intended primarily for customers who did not receive fixed monthly salaries, instead earning commissions and incentive bonuses, which were more "lumpy".
Business Day

Nedbank offering loan product to the over 65s
RodneyHayter.com - South Africa
Borrowing restrictions imposed on retired folk by the banks because of a lack of new income have been overcome by Nedbank with a new product that allows the over 65s to access funds against their fixed properties.

The equity release product uses the value of the applicant's home, either fully or partially paid up, as security to lend money.

While similar offerings have been available internationally for many years, Nedbank is the first to launch such a product in South Africa. The product was applauded this week by Kevin Lancaster, CEO of mortgage originator, BetterBond, who sees this focus as long overdue in the South African market.

Discussing the motivation for its launch, Mark Boshoff, Head of Product Innovation and Development at Nedbank Home Loans, said that local studies indicate that less than six percent of formally employed South Africans retire with sufficient investments to allow them to live a comfortable retirement.

Inclusionary policy to compel developers to build low-cost houses
Business Day - South Africa
Legislation is on the cards for an "inclusionary housing policy" that will force developers to allocate a certain percentage of their development towards low- or medium-cost houses, Local Government, Housing and Traditional Affairs MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu said yesterday.

Speaking at the second KwaZulu-Natal housing summit, he said the policy would release pockets of land for low- to medium-income housing close to employment areas.

"While the intention is not to build a low-cost house on the doorstep of a R300m house, it is possible, through planned integration, to have a good address while living in small house."

The percentage of low- or medium-cost homes to be allocated for all potential new developments may vary between 2% and 10% - and this will be determined by national government.

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