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August ABSA House Price Index
Absa - South Africa
Prospects for house prices in the rest of 2010
House prices in the middle segment of the market increased by an average of 10,5% y/y in nominal terms in the first eight months of 2010, with real price growth in this category of housing averaging 5,8% y/y in the period January to July this year. This real price growth is based on an average headline consumer price inflation rate of 4,9% y/y in the first seven months of the year.

Year-on-year house price growth is expected to slow down further towards the end of 2010, with prices forecast to grow at an average of about 10% in nominal terms for the full year. In 2009 middle-segment house prices, as measured by the Absa house price indices, dropped marginally by 0,2%. Real price growth for 2010 is forecast at between 5% and 5,5%, after prices declined by a real 7% in 2009.
Absa House Price Index

Estate agency board warns of increasing fraud, bogus agents
Business Day - South Africa
Unscrupulous agents who lodge claims against the fund can potentially defraud the board of millions of rand.
A significant increase in the number of bogus estate agents, and rising levels of white-collar crime in SA, could have serious consequences for the financial health of Estate Agency Affairs Board's fidelity fund, says the board's annual report tabled in Parliament yesterday.

Unscrupulous agents who lodge claims against the fund can potentially defraud the board of millions of rand.

The value of the fidelity fund - which was introduced specifically to protect consumers against financial loss due to theft or misappropriation of trust money by estate agents - has, since its inception in 1977, grown exponentially from R0,7m to R557m as at March 31 this year.

Tabling the board's annual report in Parliament yesterday, CEO Nomonde Mapetla said bogus agents "may well exert an adverse influence on the (board's) risk and fraud profile and might also impact negatively on the position of the fidelity fund".
Business Day

Residential property: A long-term investment?
RealEstateWeb - South Africa
Hayley Ivins takes a look at the trends.

Investors and homeowners who were spooked by the downturn in the housing market in 2008 can rest assured that residential property remains an excellent long-term investment, as long as you get the timing right.

Property analysts Lightstone have researched trends in the South African housing market over the past decade and found that only homeowners who bought and sold in a brief 12-month window from 2008 to 2009 would have lost money on their investment due to negative house price inflation.

The housing market has stabilised and we are now entering a period of recovery, but we cannot discount the possibility of another dip, as the global economy remains under pressure.

Lloyds Banking Group axes 2,500 firms from conveyancing panel
Law Gazette - UK
About 2,500 firms have been axed from Lloyds Banking Group's conveyancing panel in its recent cull, the Law Society has estimated.

Over the last month the group, which includes Lloyds TSB, Halifax, Bank of Scotland and Birmingham Midshires, has reviewed its panel membership to remove firms that have conducted a low volume of transactions over the past 12 months.

High street solicitors have claimed the new minimum volume threshold restricts client choice and gives an unfair advantage to bigger firms.
Law Gazette

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