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Important notice to conveyancers
Attorneys Insurance Indemnity Fund - South Africa
Please note.  As from 1 July 2013, the deductibles payable by the profession, in respect of professional indemnity claims that arise out of Conveyancing matters, will be increased to the same levels as those for prescribed RAF matters.

Property Barometer - Estate Agent Survey
FNB - South Africa
An interesting situation with a noticeable jump in residential demand as well as supply constraints, but pricing realism still appears to lack.
Along with agents pointing to a longer average time on the market in the 1st quarter, which is often seen as a good indicator of pricing realism in the market by sellers, they also estimated a slight increase in the percentage of sellers being required to drop their asking price to make a sale, a second indicator of pricing realism.

The percentage of properties sold at less than asking price was 85% in the 4th quarter of 2012, according to the survey, and this rose to 89% in the 1st quarter 2013 survey.

Furthermore, we ask agents to estimate the average percentage asking price drop on those properties where a price drop is required to make the sale. This average drop has remained stable for the past 4 quarters at an estimated -10%.

Therefore, after some hint of improving pricing realism by sellers in the 2nd half of 2012, the 1st quarter of 2013 survey once again suggests that perhaps we are not there yet. It is possible that seller optimism increases as demand is perceived to be improving, and that in turn keeps prices ahead of demand. Sellers may also perceive themselves to be increasingly in the “pound seats” agents have to compete harder to secure mandates on increasingly scarce stock.
FNB Property Barometer Estate Agent Survey_1st Quarter 2013

Residential building statistics
Absa - South Africa
2012 residential building trends continued in early 2013
Trends towards the end of 2012 in building activity with regard to new housing in South Africa continued in the first month of 2013. The planning phase continued to be affected by a sharp contraction in plans approved for smaller-sized houses, while the construction of new flats and townhouses still showed strong growth.

The number of new housing units for which building plans were approved by local government institution was down by 648 units, or 16,6% year-on-year (y/y), in January 2013 compared with a year ago. This was mainly as a result of a significant drop of 34,8% y/y in the number of plans approved for houses less than 80m². In 2012 plans approved for new housing in this segment of the market were down by 21,1%, with these trends expected to seriously affect the construction of this type of housing in 2013.

The volume of construction of new housing showed a contraction of around 3% y/y in the January this year, with the number of smaller-sized houses built down by 15,3%, whereas the number of flat and townhouse units was up by 17,7%.
Building stats Jan 2013

'Check that buyers have sold their existing properties'
Iol - South Africa
One of the lessons that has to be repeated over and over again at the Rawson Property Group's training sessions, says Bill Rawson, is the simple one that agents must check up on statements from buyers detailing the sale of their existing properties.

"Sadly," said Rawson, "intelligent people who are highly successful in other activities can be amazingly ignorant or naïve when it comes to ensuring that an agreed sale goes through. When their claim that this has happened is proven invalid, it can result in the entire purchase being unable to go ahead because they simply do not have the cash."

"I have seen incidents where a whole chain of apparently completed sales (to make the latest deal possible) have, in fact, not taken place - or where one step has held up the whole chain."

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