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FNB Property Barometer - 3rd Quarter Residential Building Activity
FNB - South Africa
The 3rd quarter proved to be a mild improvement on the 2nd quarter in terms of the growth in building completions.  However, the volatile nature of building plans passed provides no clear indication on whether this improving trend will be sustained. We are of the opinion that this trend will probably not yet prove to be sustainable, with a wide replacement cost gap set to continue to make life tough for the building sector to bring competitively-priced homes to the market, especially with existing house price growth starting to slow once more.
In addition, there are signs that, after a brief improvement in economic activity in the 3rd quarter, that the economy may well come under pressure in the near term. Notable are recent monthly declines in the SARB Leading Business Cycle Indicator.
In short, the existing home market is well supplied, and as a result its prices look set to remain under pressure in the near term. Under such conditions, the overall environment looks set to be challenging for the residential development sector.
The “outperforming” segment is expected to continue to be the “Dwelling Houses smaller than 80 square metres” with SA’s Affordable Segment believed to be the healthiest of the housing market segments at present.

New max 24 month rental clause 'may see the end of long property leases'
Iol.co.za - South Africa
Almost daily there are media warnings that the Consumer Protection Act will have consequences not previously imagined or predicted.

One such, recently pointed out by Lanice Steward, MD of Anne Porter Knight Frank, has still not been assimilated into the planning of many landlords - they are, says Steward, "blissfully unaware of it".

The legislation to which Steward was referring stipulates that no property lease (whether for a commercial or a residential building) can be longer than 24 months if the tenant and the landlord are both non-juristic persons (i.e. are not working through a trust, close corporation or company).

The clause can also be nullified if the landlord and tenant can show that there are sound financial benefits to be gained from having a longer lease.

Law firm marketing: What's the ROI?
Law Practice - USA
Those experienced in utilizing a defined marketing strategy effectively understand that there is a way to track and quantify the dollars earmarked for law firm marketing, while others still view any monies allocated to these non-billable efforts as a “black hole.”

Overall, it is safe to say that law firms as a whole have taken a hard look at all operating expenditures over the past several years in order to keep pace with the changing economy. Yet, according to a study produced in the January 6, 2011 edition of the Law Society Gazette, 42% of law firms were planning on increasing the amount of spending on marketing in the coming year.

It is also true that for most professional services firms, marketing and business development allocations do not produce immediate recognizable results. So how does a lawyer or law firm track any return on investment (ROI) for its marketing efforts? The answer is having a plan in place prior to engaging in these efforts and preparing for a longer period of examination.
Law Practice

John Loos talk on property business
Cyberprop - South Africa
The +/-100 members of the Western Cape Institute of Estate Agents who attended its recent annual general meeting were treated to a talk on South Africa’s current economic and property conditions that, says the Institute’s general manager, Dianne Brock, was “one of the most informed and insightful on the property market this year.”

The speaker was John Loos, property economist at First National Bank. To the surprise of many present, after giving what Brock described as a highly realistic and certainly not overoptimistic summary, Loos ended on a very positive note saying that “now is quite definitely the time to make the most of great opportunities because the future will be an improvement on the present”. By implication, he added, this means that today’s residential property prices are often at bargain levels and are unlikely ever again to be so low – although currently stuck at present levels.

Loos began his presentation with an “Acceptance Cycle Clock”, showing how the average man reacts to ‘boom-bust-good-times-bad times’ cycles. The good times are characterised by confidence and a willingness to buy and expand. As bad news becomes prevalent and the market slips backwards, typically, said Loos, people will react at first by denying the realities, then with anger and possibly aggression, depression and confusion. In time these will give way to a willingness to bargain, to an acceptance of the current conditions and finally a return to normality.

The South African residential market, said Loos, is at the moment at least partially still in the denial/confusion/depression phase, but it is showing signs of moving on.

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