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ABSA residential building statistics
ABSA - South Africa
Contraction in residential building activity continues
Building activity in South Africa's residential property sector continued to contract on an annual basis up to April 2010, with the segment of houses larger than 80m² recording a slowing pace of contraction in levels of activity since the second half of 2009. The other two segments, i.e. houses smaller than 80m² and flats and townhouses, continued to show major contractions in activity up to April.

The real value of plans approved for new residential buildings was 6,6% year-on-year (y/y) lower in the first four months of 2010, at R5,25 billion (R5,62 billion in the same period last year). The real value in respect of new residential buildings completed was down by 34,6% y/y to R4,18 billion in January to April this year from with R6,39 billion in the first four months of 2009. These real values are calculated at constant
2005 prices.

Joburg transfer nightmare: Water is a problem too
RealEstateWeb - South Africa
Residents struggle to have water accounts transferred into the body corporate's name.

Pretoria - Residents of a sectional title complex in Linden have been struggling for more than two years to have their water accounts transferred into the name of the complex's body corporate. Realestateweb has discovered that this is not an isolated case. It seems to be a prolific problem throughout the Johannesburg area.

A Johannesburg developer, who didn't want to be named, confirmed that he was still receiving up to a hundred water accounts for properties his company has developed since 2003. He has given up on rectifying matters with Johannesburg Water and the City Council, and now opts to file the accounts without paying them. When he receives subpoenas for the outstanding debt he hires legal help and defends his position in court. Only then does the council seem to affect the account transfers required.

Sars's tax-free property amnesty: Worth the effort?
MoneyWebTax - South Africa

Sars's tax free property transfer amnesty has just become a lot more onerous.

In 2009 the legislature, through the insertion of paragraph 51 of the Eighth Schedule to the Income Tax Act 58 of 1962, provided relief for the extracting of a primary residence from a company or a trust, subject to certain requirements without suffering certain adverse tax consequences. This concession was aimed at assisting people to eliminate companies or trusts owning their primary residences, without any tax disadvantage.

There were various difficulties with the application of paragraph 51, some of which were identified by our firm. In response, National Treasury has released draft legislation which will
- Amend the existing section 51, but cut it off at September 30 2010;
- Introduce a new paragraph 51A (with associated provisions) covering the period from October 1 2010 to 31 December 2012 and which contains new qualification requirements.

Ruling opens door to more property syndication complaints
Personal Finance - South Africa
In the first of what is expected to be a series of determinations on property syndications that have soured, Noluntu Bam, the Ombud for Financial Services Providers, has ordered a financial services provider (FSP) and its representative to repay R495 000 plus interest of 15.5 percent backdated to November 2008 to a wrongly advised 66-year-old investor.

In her ruling, Bam says that neither Cape Town-based Lifesure Financial Services nor its representative, Nigel Segers, undertook an adequate due diligence investigation before in 2005 they advised Bernard Dudley to invest in Propdotcom, a now failed Blue Pointer property syndication scheme, which offered an annual return of 10.5 percent.
Personal Finance

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