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SA averts housing bubble by a whisker
Business Report - South Africa
Fears of a housing bubble have receded as growth in house prices slowed sharply this year. But how close South Africa came to a bubble, after growth of 20 percent a year since 2000, is revealed by Jacques du Toit, a senior economist at ABSA, in his fourth-quarter residential property perspective.

A bubble is the term used to describe an unsustainable increase in prices, based on expectations of further price rises. When something happens to alter expectations, the bubble bursts and buyers find themselves with mortgage loans worth more than the property, in other words, holding "negative equity".

One sign of a bubble is when new houses are cheaper than existing houses. "The rationale is that once a new house can be built for less than the cost of buying an existing house, the market is set for a downward correction," said Du Toit.
Business Report

Illegal land invaders face eviction
Iol.co.za - South Africa
The city is to evict and relocate 1 000 people who have settled illegally on land reserved for public amenities, road reserves and schools on the Cape Flats.

Steve Hayward, acting city manager for informal settlements, told the Cape Argus that the illegal occupation of public spaces would affect infrastructural development plans.

The city had recently won an interdict stopping the expansion of informal settlements - Cuba, Kosovo, Hillview Capricorn, Chinatown, Zillerain and Vrygrond - scattered around Belhar, Grassy Park and Lavender Hill.

"The city will put in measures to control the illegal occupation of land," Hayward said.

Dubai World may enter SA mortgage market
Moneyweb.co.za - South Africa
Dubai World, which manages state assets for the Persian Gulf emirate, may enter the local mortgage market as part of the group's development of the V&A Waterfront shopping mall in Cape Town.

"The V&A project contains so many properties, we will have to look at the mortgage market," Dubai World Chairman Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem told reporters in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, yesterday. "Whether starting new businesses or acquiring is open to decision."

Dubai World would tap into a mortgage market that has almost doubled in size since the end of 2004.

Bin Sulayem wouldn't say in which South African mortgage lenders Dubai may seek to invest.

BPF to collaborate with PISCES
Mortgage Solutions - UK
The British Property Federation (BPF) has signed up to collaborate with PISCES.

PISCES provides a platform for devising a common computer data exchange language for the property industry, and BPF will now assist PISCES by contributing to the development of a standard, and adopt that standard for their own information exchange needs.

Liz Peace, chief executive of the BPF, pointed out that, to do deals efficiently, industry needed to speak the same language. She said: "To have a common computer language we have to have an agency that independently facilitates a standard. The more people involved the better the standard will become. It is clearly in the interest of BPF members that they contribute to and support a common computer language."
Mortgage Solutions

Tenants insist their deposits held by attorneys
Rodneyhayter.com - South Africa
Tenants are advised to insist that their deposits on rented properties are held in trust by an attorney rather than the letting agent or the landlord.

The warning comes from Proprop's CEO Mike Bennett who claimed this week that, although illegal, some tenants' deposits were being utilised by cash-strapped estate agencies to fund shortfalls in their working capital, often with dire consequences if these agencies close down.

A recent case involving Proprop was that of a tenant seeking a deposit from one of Proprop's recently closed franchises. The tenant had sought recompense from Bennett who successfully initiated the claim from the principal of the closed franchise, but Bennett says if this avenue of redress had not been open to the tenant it was unlikely the claim would have been met.

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