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Thousands of land claims outstanding
Business.iafrica.com - South Africa
There are still 5128 rural land claims outstanding in the nine provinces of South Africa, according to Agriculture and Land Affairs Minister Lulu Xingwana.

Responding to a question from Democratic Alliance MP Maans Nel, who asked whether all these outstanding claims had been gazetted, the minister said that they had not.

"Some of these claims are fairly complex and are still in a research phase to determine their validity; for example, where a claim requests a right to more than one portion of land."

Bill will build better municipalities
Business.iafrica.com - South Africa
The Division of Revenue Bill, considered by the National Council of Provinces on Thursday, would provide R129.2billion to municipalities over the next three years, Finance Minister Trevor Manuel said.

This included R27.2billion "to compensate municipalities for the loss of Regional Service Council levies".

"As a result, the local government's share of nationally-raised revenue increases from 6.5 percent in the current financial year (2006/07) to 7.2 percent in the 2007/08 to 7.8 percent in the outer year of the 2007 medium-term expenditure framework," he told members of Parliament.

Powers, take note of the Cape Town property fiasco
Business Day. co.za - South Africa
The Cape Town City Council is getting quite good at saying sorry. It apologised profusely to the University of Cape Town's Rag committee recently for withdrawing permission for its annual float parade at the last minute, apparently due to official bumbling. Depriving a student of an opportunity to wear a nappy in public while drinking beer from a baby's bottle is akin to a declaration of war, so an apology was clearly warranted.

The council was also forced to tuck into a generous slice of humble pie after it emerged that about 1800 of the city's 4400 sectional-title schemes had been double-counted due to a computer glitch in the valuation process associated with the new, market value-linked rates calculation system.

Homeowners bank on property
Cape Business News - South Africa
Homeowners in the Western Cape and parts of the Eastern Cape are increasingly using their homes to access credit, says Charl Theron, property specialist at Walkers Attorneys and Conveyancing Convenor of the Cape Town Attorneys' Association.

In analysing statistics for property transfers at the Cape Town Deeds Office, Theron says that about 30% more bonds were registered than transfers in 2006 and this indicates increasing use of mortgage bonds as credit.

In 2006 103,359 conventional deeds were transferred and 133,820 bonds were registered. This is marginally less than the previous year (105,277 transfers and 138,253 bonds).

He says that among the reasons for the higher number of bonds registered could be that low interest rates, combined with the huge increase in property prices, have enabled property owners to "unlock the value of their properties by registering further bonds for renovations".
It could also be that homeowners realise that, although they could sell their homes for considerably more than they paid for them, any profits made from these sales would be swallowed up by the purchase of new homes, payment of estate agent commissions and transfer costs, of which the transfer duty is the largest portion.
Cape Business News

House prices growth firm at 15.5%
Fin24.co.za - South Africa
Johannesburg - South African nominal year-on-year growth in house prices remained firm at 15.5% on average in the first quarter of 2007, according to the latest ABSA House Price Index.

This development was supported by continued strong growth in transaction volumes during the period January to March this year.

In March, nominal house price growth of 15.5% year-on-year was recorded in the middle segment of the market compared with a revised growth rate of 15.6% in February.

This brought the average price of a house in this segment of the market to about R902,200 in March 2007.

Plans logjam: It pays to break the law
Iol.co.za - South Africa
Durban property developers and home owners who have been waiting between six months and a year for plans to be approved by the eThekwini Municipality's Development Planning Department are making alterations and erecting buildings illegally around the city as the department strains under a prolonged plans backlog.

Durban architectural professionals said there was a proliferation of multimillion-rand illegal structures going up around the city as their clients could not afford to wait months for plans to be approved in the face of rapidly escalating building costs.

They said clients were opting to build and pay the fine of R4,000 for not submitting plans rather than face higher building costs months later. People caught building illegally without approved plans are also liable to a fine of R600 a day.

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