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Reduction in Lawyers Able to Do Conveyancing Effects Consumers
hip-consultant.co.uk - UK
In a conveyancing transaction, a conveyancer will generally act for both the lender and the purchaser. This is permitted because the lender and buyer have a common interest, to proceed to completion as quickly as possible whilst ensuring the title to the property represents satisfactory security for the mortgage advance/purchase price.

Contrary to what many people may believe however, not just any conveyancer can for a lender. All mortgage lenders maintain panels of approved conveyancers who they are willing to instruct to represent them when they are advancing money on the security of a property. Historically just about any law firm which practises conveyancing has been able to join the panel of any lender provided it has not behaved in such a manner so as to be struck off, but times are changing.

The smaller firms who are adversely affected argue, quite convincingly, that this will severely limit consumer choice and therefore limit access to justice. The firms that remain are largely the big “conveyancing factories”. Whilst these firms have their benefits, they are unpopular with many.

House Price Growth Continues in February 2012
Ooba - South Africa
According to the latest statistics released by ooba - South Africa's leading bond originator - property prices in February showed positive year-on-year growth of 4.3%. This is the fourth consecutive month that ooba has recorded positive house price growth and follows growth of 6.7% recorded in January 2012, which was the highest year-on-year price increase since July 2010.

The February oobarometer price index reveals that the average house price rose to R 868 174 from R 832 105 a year earlier, while month-on-month property prices increased by 2.1%.

The average purchase price amongst first time buyers also continues its upward trajectory, showing year-on-year growth of 10.7% to R 663 092, from R 599 105 a year earlier. According to Saul Geffen, CEO of ooba, this is being driven partly by the relaxation in deposit requirements, which is providing a more favourable environment for first time homebuyers. The average approved bond size increased 10.9% to R 738 835 from R 666 124 a year ago, while the average deposit decreased by 25.1% to R129 339, down from R165 981 a year earlier. The average deposit is now equivalent to 14.9% of the purchase price. 

Not all offers are equal
Moneyweb - South Africa
What to look for when accepting an offer to purchase.
In today’s property market it may be tempting for sellers to accept the highest offer to purchase they receive, however, they do need to read through all clauses in the contract and make sure that it is not just the highest but also the best, says Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern African.

He notes that this is why it is important for sellers to be working with a reputable qualified estate agent that can guide them through the process of what to look for when accepting an offer. An agent’s duty is to act in the best interest of the seller in relation to the mandate given and ensure the best possible outcome of the transaction. In some cases the seller may find themselves in a situation where they have received multiple offers at the same time. Although the offer of the highest value may seem like the obvious choice and is the ultimate goal at the end of the day, there are other aspects of the offer to consider before deciding on which one to accept.

Joburg gets 62 000 new billing complaints
iolproperty.co.za - South Africa
The City of Joburg's muchvaunted road map to solve the billing crisis, launched in November, has already failed its first deadline of February 28. Figures released by the council yesterday show 62 188 new complaints have been recorded in the four-and-a-half months between November 1 and March 13.

Of these, 35 000 remain unresolved. This is over and above the 132 850 recorded up to October 31, when the backlogs were ringfenced. Of those, 66 000 are still a mess.

In spite of this, the council announced another escalation in credit control yesterday, saying levels of non-payment had increased over the past eight months and 22 000 final letters of demand were being issued. Measures to help customers have also been put in place.

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