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Property market 'popular vehicle for money'
Iol.co.za - South Africa
Despite the fact that property purchases create an audit trail involving estate agents, banks and the registry of title deeds, South Africa's property market is a popular vehicle for money laundering, an Institute for Security Studies (ISS) study has found.

It said that in conforming to the popularity which accompanied their criminal lifestyles, big-spending "high flyers" and white collar criminals generally used proceeds of crime to improve their material circumstances, including purchasing new properties.

Research author and investigative journalist Gregory Mthembu-Salter said a huge increase in SA property prices since 2003, coupled with the strengthening of the rand against international currencies, made the real estate market a prime investment for anyone with sufficient disposable funds.

House affordability seen worsening
Business.iafrica.com - South Africa
FNB property economist John Loos feels that average house price inflation will recede to single digit figures in 2007 and new residential stock will taper off but that as the interest rate cycle turns in 2008 a recovery could be on the cards in the last years of the decade.

Using last week's SA Reserve Bank (SARB) quarterly bulletin for his research, Loos found that the two housing affordability indices showed mild improvements, but he did not believe this was the start of an improving trend just yet.

"For the time being, rising interest rates are set to take affordability worse, and the overall household debt-service ratio will also get worse for the foreseeable future. The result? Average house price inflation in single-digit figures expected for 2007," said Loos.

Prime land in Cape Town returned to claimants
SABC News - South Africa
The beneficiaries of the more than 12 hectares of prime land near Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens in Cape Town say they intend using the land to build residential houses - including an old age home.

Eighty-six claimants have acquired the land as part of government's land restitution programme. Former Protea villagers were forcibly removed from the area by the apartheid regime under the Group Areas Act in 1957.

Would-be estate agents pick up tips from the experts
The Herald - South Africa
Candidate estate agents, primarily from disadvantaged backgrounds, recently attended a workshop presentation by conveyancing attorney Genny de Klerk of Joubert Galpin Searle.

This forms part of a drive by the Institute of Estate Agents' South Eastern Cape Division to offer training to candidate agents.

De Klerk spoke to the group about the conveyancing process - from what happens once the offer to purchase is signed through to the property being registered in the deeds office.
The Herald

Estate agents' leaders demand 'scrapping' of Home Information Packs
24Dash.com - UK
The Government is being urged by estate agents' leaders to scrap "unworkable" Home Information Packs (HIPs).

The move comes only weeks after Ministers announced a major U turn over the packs, saying the Home Condition Report (HCR) would no longer be mandatory.

Peter Bolton King, Chief Executive of the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) is calling on Ministers to change the law by repealing part 5 of the Housing Act.

He wants the Government to work with estate agents and find other ways of improving the home buying and selling process.

SA awash with estate agents
Fin24.co.za - South Africa
There are nearly 70 000 estate agents in South Africa, almost 30 000 more than at democracy in 1994, according to the Estate Agency Affairs Board annual report tabled at Parliament on Wednesday.

The number of firms operating in the real estate market rose from 9 355 in 1994 to 15 175 this year, according to the report.

In total this year there were 69 100 estate agents including 15 728 principals and 53 372 salespersons, the report stated. In 1994 there were 40 420.

The report said that the increased figures - with those in the industry having risen from 64 546 in 2005 and up from 38 399 the previous year - indicated the buoyancy of the real estate market as well as the entry of members of historically disadvantaged groups into the industry.

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