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House price data - who's right?
Fin24.co.za - South Africa
Data in house prices is often bandied about to illustrate the phenomenal growth in property prices in South Africa in recent years. Yet on closer inspection the data turns out to be inconsistent and downright misleading.

Consider house price inflation. According to Absa, nominal house price growth in third quarter 2006 was 13.8% year-on-year for houses in the middle segment of the market. However, Standard Bank puts house price inflation for the same period at just 2.9% - almost 11% lower than the Absa estimate.

Similarly, Absa puts the price of an average house in the middle segment of the market at R818 333. By contrast, Standard Bank puts SA's median house price at a far lower R522 000.

Land restitution streamlined
Business.iafrica.com - South Africa
Fundamental changes to power given to land claims commissioners will streamline and speed up the restitution process, said Limpopo commissioner Mashile Mokono.

"The Minister (Land and Agricultural affairs) has agreed to delegate some powers to approve and finalise land claims to the Chief Land Commissioner as well as the Regional Land Claims Commissioners, which will shorten the finalisation of land claims in all provinces and will make the Commissioners more accountable for their own actions," said Mokono.

Mokono had resigned earlier this year in order to further his career in the private sector.

Congestion creeps up on property values
Business Day - South Africa
When asked to describe the most important feature of a good property investment, an oft-repeated catchphrase among property pundits is "location, location, location". However, pundits are often referring to what would be called a good area rather than the access to that area. But property economist Francois Viruly, of Viruly Consulting, says location in property is also a function of how accessible that location is via transport routes and whether it has infrastructure linked to it.

Viruly says that severe traffic congestion, which is getting worse every year as the number of cars on the roads increases, particularly in Johannesburg, could soon negatively affect property values for all property types, including retail, office and residential property.

New office blocks, for instance, and large regional shopping centres in congested areas are becoming increasingly less accessible for office workers and shoppers, who may spend several hours trying to reach these destinations.
Business Day

New houses smaller, pricier
Fin24.co.za - South Africa
Three years ago it would have cost South African consumers 31% more to build a new home than to buy an existing one. The cost premium of owning a brand new house then was around R137,000, based on ABSA's then average-priced existing home of around R443,000. But the picture has changed decidedly since.

ABSA's latest quarterly housing review, released last week, shows that the price gap between new and existing houses has steadily dropped over the past three years and is currently at a marginal 1.5%.

Based on ABSA's average house price of R820,200 in third quarter 2006, it now costs homebuyers just R12,700 more to build a new house than to buy an existing one.

Property Law Bill introduced to the House
Scoop - New Zealand
Proposed legislation to clarify and improve existing property law has been introduced to Parliament today, says the Associate Justice Minister Clayton Cosgrove. Mr Cosgrove said the Property Law Bill aims to reform the Property Law Act 1952.

"The Property Law Act 1952 needs to be updated. Some of its provisions are obsolete and do not work well with other legislation," Mr Cosgrove said.
"The Bill is largely based on Law Commission recommendations that aim to create modern, more user-friendly legislation for people buying or selling property, or mortgaging their property to raise finance," he said. "The Bill also applies to commercially leased property."

Mr Cosgrove said the changes would provide certainty for people and protect their rights over property transactions, as well as ensure that the relationship between the parties to a lease is reasonable and fair.

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