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Next-door right argued in court
BusinessDay - South Africa
The Constitutional Court is considering whether neighbours should have the right to object to building plans of adjacent properties before they are approved by local authorities.

Legal counsel for the cities of Johannesburg and Cape Town, represented by constitutional experts Jeremy Gauntlet and Geoff Budlender, told the court yesterday that such a decision would slow down the processing of building plan applications.

According to court documents, Johannesburg alone processes 2,000 applications a month, which were estimated in 2006 to be worth about R9,3bn.

Gauntlet, representing Johannesburg, appealed to the court to first consult the South African Local Government Association and small municipalities before deciding whether to give neighbours such a right.
Business Day

Borrowers' blues - Chickens have come home to roost!
RodneyHayter.com - South Africa
If rising interest rates have put the squeeze on your repayments, ask your lender to make a plan, suggests an article in the latest edition of Pam Golding Properties Intellectual Property magazine.

Growth in mortgage advances has hit the wall of high interest rates, the shrinking of household disposable incomes and the strictures of the National Credit Act - grist to the mill of the SA Reserve Bank's strenuous efforts to contain consumer spending and borrowing.

The number of mortgage applications being declined by the banks has risen, although the institutions are unwilling or unable to put numbers to the trend. Many applications are being turned down not necessarily because borrowers' credit backgrounds do not meet the required standards, but because of inadequate earnings. This is frequently the case with first-time buyers. Young couples are being advised to lower their sights.

Small provinces show stronger growth, says FNB
Business Day - South Africa
Smaller provinces such as Free State and North West recorded huge surges in the number of residential building plans passed last year, while some larger provinces recorded negative growth.

First National Bank property strategist John Loos, who released a report this week on residential building activity, says he suspects that this trend may have "something to do with the fact that [smaller provinces'] property cycles lag behind the big provinces and that their property booms only peak later".

"We might still be seeing an overhang from the boom period," says Loos.
Business Day

Pink and proud - SA mortgage man
Realestateweb - South Africa
Property finance CEO gives others a run for their money in the party stakes - though one Party could put him to shame.

This week in Tabloid Tuesday, our fun-poking column about property and the media: find out who knows how to have a good time and who is simply NOT in the mood.

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