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House prices to continue slump
Fin24.co.za - South Africa
While residential property prices continued to fall during the year, office property demand strengthened with vacancy rates declining in all four major central business districts, the central bank said on Tuesday.

According to the latest Absa - the country's biggest home loans lender - house price index, house prices growth fell from 15.8% in March 2007 to 12% in November, the lowest price growth since January 2000.

The SARB echoed property experts' views that the moderation in home prices was likely to continue as home buyers feel the pinch of higher interest rates.

Borrowers log on for mortgages
Yourmortgage.co.uk - UK
A survey conducted by Your Mortgage and Yorkshire Building Society has shown that 20% of borrowers would progress with a mortgage application online all the way to completion.

A further 39% would proceed to the quote stage, while 27% said they would use the internet purely to research their borrowing options. The internet is by far the most popular first port of call for borrowers looking for details on mortgages, attracting 66% of potential borrowers. The next highest source of information is mortgage brokers and independent financial advisers, with 13% of the vote.

Borrowing calculators are the most desirable online facility, with 73% of respondents ranking them the most useful type of online facility. Cost of mortgage quotation tools and quick, personal lending decisions also scored highly. Nearly three-fifths of respondents would consider taking out home insurance online while applying for a mortgage and 29% would look into finding legal and conveyancing services on the web.

Top agent warns against "abandoning ownership"
Rodneyhayter.com - South Africa
"Last week's latest hike in interest rates in the seemingly runaway trend over the past 18 months means it has now become "crucial for the public to re-evaluate their spending habits," says Rawson's MD, Tony Clarke.

Clarke, according to a company media release, is particularly concerned that the latest rise will lead to a negative attitude of property ownership in some quarters.

"Our company has hammered the message that for the typical middle class salary earner property is the road to wealth. It would be a great pity if this ideal is now abandoned and the lower income groups revert to renting."

Home is where the holiday is ...
NetAssets.co.za - South Africa
To most people, a home is their castle and the biggest investment of their lives. Then there are others for whom second or even third homes are a part of their lifestyle.

But few South Africans can afford to own a second home for leisure only, property experts say.

Jawitz Properties CEO Herschel Jawitz estimates that only about 5% can take advantage of that luxury, while Seeff Properties CEO Samuel Seeff puts the figure at between 5% and 10%.

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