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Cheaper houses grab the limelight
NetAssets - South Africa
The price gap between the lower and higher end of the residential property market is starting to narrow, according to the latest Lightstone Residential Property Indices.

The report by Lightstone Risk Management, which compiles the index, showed that affordable areas and mid-value areas had much higher inflation than the high value and luxury areas of the residential market.

Affordable areas are those with average house prices below R250000, while mid-value areas refer to those with prices between R250000 and R700000. High-value areas have prices averaging between R700000 and R1,5m, and houses in luxury areas are priced above R1,5m.

Shake up for home loans' market
Real Estate web - South Africa

New Investec-backed entrant set to take on SA's "big four" with fast switches to cheaper mortgages.

Simon Stockley is anything but a financial sissy.

After paving the way in the mortgage securitisation market with SA Home Loans in the late 1990s, and later starting a mortgage company in Saudi Arabia, he is back - this time with a new home loan offering designed to take on the big four banks.

Standard Bank (JSE: SBK), Absa (JSE: ASA), Nedbank (JSE: NED) and FNB (JSE: FSR) enjoyed bumper profits along with the residential property boom this decade, with much money coming from home loans. SA Home Loans was a welcome competitor, but now has as a major shareholder Standard Bank.

Stockley is introducing Integer, a mortgage product that includes transactional banking and credit facilities, to consumers. He is aiming at new buyers as well as trying to tempt existing home owners to "switch" mortgages for a better deal.
Real Estate web

From mouse to house
What Mortgage - UK
E-conveyancing promises paperless and speedy homebuying. Emma Lunn finds out if it really works

Conveyancing is essentially the transfer of ownership from one party to another. You will need a conveyancer of some kind when you buy or sell a home, or remortgage. The process is carried out either by a solicitor specialising in conveyancing or by a licensed conveyancer.
If you use a high street solicitor or conveyancer most contact with them is over the telephone or in person. But if you use an 'online' or 'e-' conveyancer, most contact and updates on the transaction will be online.

The aim of online conveyancing is to make the property transfer process as paperless as possible, with aspects such as contact between the solicitor and customer, searches, money transfer and property registration all done on the internet. Other aspects of the transaction - such as those involving the Land Registry - still need to be done the traditional way, though there are plans to change this in the future.
What Mortgage

State should stop eradicating informal settlements - study
Business Day - South Africa
The government should reconsider its policy of eradicating informal settlements as these play a critical role in enabling the poor to access land in urban areas, providing a route to formal housing for many poor people.

This is among the conclusions in a new study of informal settlements, backyard shacks and Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) housing projects, Making Urban Land Markets Work for the Poor.

The study, by Urban Landmark, finds that plenty of buying and selling goes on in these areas, and that there is a functional market that enables the poor to access land quickly, cheaply and relatively easily.
Business Day

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