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Housing hits five year low
IAfrica.com - South Africa
South Africa's residential property market is at a five-year low point on a number of measures, in a difficult economic climate, a First National Bank survey showed on Monday.

The quarterly review, which measures property sentiment and activity, found the market sluggish at 4.42 points on a scale of one to 10, the lowest since the bank began the index in 2003.

"The results from the second quarter 2008 illustrate that more than a fifth of sellers are downscaling (prices) due to financial pressure ... the latest levels show that 85 percent of sellers are unable to meet their sales target," read the report.

FNB property economist, John Loos said the barometer painted a dismal picture of the country's property market.

Estate agents have patched up differences with EAAB, says institute
Business Report - South Africa
The property industry and its regulator, the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB), appear to have settled their differences.

They have been at loggerheads for several years over a variety of issues, not least the alleged inability of the board to issue fidelity fund certificates to estate agents timeously.

A fidelity fund certificate is in effect a licence that allows a person to operate as an estate agent and earn commission.

Willie Marais, the national president of the Institute of Estate Agents of SA (Ieasa), agreed yesterday that there was a new spirit of co-operation between the industry, Ieasa and the EAAB.

Marais said evidence of this was the sharing of information in a number of forums.
Business Report

Hard hit property market calls for a pause in rate hikes
RodneyHayter.com - South Africa
Questionable CPIX statistics strengthen the case for maintaining or even decreasing interest rates at the next Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in August. Such a move would ease pressure on bond repayments for hard hit homeowners.

Gerhard Kotzé, CEO of the ERA South Africa property group, says that based on the debate surrounding the CPIX stats, there is seemingly a very real possibility that bond rates are unjustifiably high.

Referring to the recently released Investec Asset Management statement suggesting that the "real" CPIX should be about 2% to 3% lower than the official numbers provided by Statistics South Africa, he says: "While not professing to be economist, I find it worrying that bond rate levels may be too high based upon dubious calculations in respect of the CPIX.
Rodney Hayter

SA's new property law shocker
RealEstateweb.co.za - South Africa

If you think land grab law looks ugly, look at what new Companies law will do to your property "investments".

One of the biggest selling points of commercial property investments is the steady, growing income stream that accompanies a water-tight lease. But a looming new law could change that, with property owners set to have vastly diminished rights.

The draft Companies Bill looks "scary", say senior figures in the real estate sector.

If the law is passed in its current form, you will have to draw up radically different lease agreements and take many extra steps, at huge cost, to safeguard yourself - or you run the risk of effectively having a commercial squatter.

That, in turn, could lead to your own financial woes.
Real Estate Web

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