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Home loan shocker: Standard Bank shuts out originators
RealEstateWeb - South Africa

Costly war erupts between big bank, country's biggest mortgage originators over commissions. Standard refuses home loan business.

A battle has erupted between JSE-listed Standard Bank (JSE:SBK) and the country's top mortgage originators over commissions.

Standard Bank was not accepting home loan business from ooba, formerly MortgageSA, this week or Bond Choice. Lawyers have been enlisted on either side as the fight between banks and their once-courted intermediaries starts to hot up.

It is understood from reliable sources that Standard Bank is seriously considering doing away with originators altogether as it finds ways to cut costs, though for now the emphasis has been on trying to get originators to chop their juicy commissions.

House price growth slipped into the red in 2008
Standard Bank Residential Property Gauge - South Africa
Conclusion: The Standard Bank median house price index (smoothed) recorded a decrease of 3.1% y/y in December, bringing the average annual decline in 2008 to 0.3%, the first decline since 1996. The more volatile monthly data showed an increase of 9% in the median house price that Standard Bank financed in December. The jump is not the result of higher house prices but rather the outcome of fewer lower priced houses financed by Standard Bank. Clearly, middle and lower income households find economic and financial conditions extremely challenging, while the tightening of lending criteria by financial institutions makes it more difficult to access finance. It is anticipated that house price growth will be negative over the short and medium term. Over the short term, economic conditions are expected to deteriorate further, however, positive developments on the inflation front early this year will lead to further interest rate cuts in 2009. Standard Bank expects 250 basis points relief this year.
Standard Bank Residential Property Gauge

Thousands lose land-use rights
Fin24.com - South Africa
Pretoria - Thousands of properties in the Western Cape have lost their land-use rights, and consequently much of their value.

An announcement in this regard was made just before Christmas, but town planners, developers and building contractors heard of it only in the New Year.

They are worried and are considering an urgent application to the Cape High Court after all requests for rezoning, deviations from land-use rights, subdivisions, usage concessions, and building plans related to these properties, have been temporarily prohibited by the City of Cape Town. .

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