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The hype of redeveloping old buildings
Moneyweb - South Africa
Johannesburg’s CBD is becoming a hub for the repurposing of derelict buildings into edgy new residential or commercial developments. The latest architectural showpiece from the city is the redevelopment of former grain silos in Newtown into student accommodation.

The project is called the “Mill Junction” and boasts 10 floors of accommodation for 400 students attending universities like the University of Witwatersrand and the University of Johannesburg. Property management company Citiq has been driving the redevelopment of the silos over the last twelve months.

The idea is all about using existing and old buildings in the city, said Citiq CEO Paul Lapham at the formal opening of the Mill Junction. Rand Merchant Bank provided the bulk of the finance for the R40m development, while Citiq invested R10m of its capital into the project. Futuregrowth Asset Management will provide financing for the maintenance and upkeep of the complex.

Verbal property leases to be phased out
IolProperty - South Africa
A lease can be oral (verbal), in writing or a combination of both, i.e. partly written and partly oral. In the case of a residential lease, if the tenant asks for a written lease, the landlord must reduce the oral lease to writing, but on the same terms and conditions as the oral lease.

The provisions pertaining to leases under section 5 of the Rental Housing Act 50 of 1999 reads:

  1. 1 A lease between a tenant and a landlord, subject to subsection (2), need not be in writing or be subject to the provisions of the Formalities in Respect of Leases of Land Act, 1969 (Act No 18 of 1969).
  2. A landlord must, if requested by a tenant, reduce the lease to writing.

The act does not give the same right to the landlord, so a request to the tenant to reduce the oral lease to writing can be ignored, since this would not be considered an unfair practice.

As for writing down the terms of the oral lease, it is important to note that parties are merely recording the original conditions agreed on.There may be instances where parties agree that for the lease to be binding, a written lease contract must be signed. Oral leases have been around for centuries and become part of the South African common law and the law of contract. This is to change shortly. The proposed changes to the Rental Housing Act as amended in 2007 will change the way landlords and tenants conclude residential leases.

e-Conveyancing bringing property transactions into 21st century
Brisbane Times - Australia
Just like the stock market, the humble video cassette, and local photo developer, the digital era is set to swallow up another traditional industry by the end of the decade. While the thought of “e-conveyancing” probably won't stop you in your tracks, it's likely to be something you will encounter if you buy or sell property in Queensland from next year.

A national digital system to formalise property sales, known as PEXA, is being rolled out around the country in 2014. Queensland is likely to get on board by the end of the year. One of the companies spearheading the push to digitise Australia's $280 billion worth of property transactions is Brisbane-based GlobalX.
Brisbane Times

Housing review - 1st quarter 2014
Absa - South Africa
The performance of and prospects for the residential property market will continue to be closely related to economic growth, employment and household income growth, property running costs and living costs in general, interest rates, consumers’ credit-risk profiles, banks’ risk appetite and lending criteria and consumer confidence. These factors will affect the affordability of housing and mortgage finance and will be reflected in property demand and supply conditions, price trends, market activity, buying patterns, transaction volumes and the demand for mortgage finance.

In view of current trends in and prospects for the major economic and household finance-related factors, as well as recent trends in house price growth, continued single-digit nominal price growth is forecast for 2014 and 2015. Real house price growth will be the result of the combined effect of nominal price trends and inflation, with real price deflation expected this year and next year.

Against the background of current conditions in and the outlook for the economy, household finances andconsumer confidence, growth in outstanding household mortgage balances, which remained very subdued at 2,4% y/y up to the end of last year, is forecast to continue to record low single-digit growth in 2014.

Economic, consumer and property market-related factors will drive future residential building activity, which showed very little change in 2013 from 2012. The demand for housing as well as the supply of existing properties in the secondary market, together with the cost implications of supplying new housing, will also be important factors affecting residential building activity. In view of a growing population and household sector, changing lifestyles and pressures on the affordability of housing, the focus of the past number of years on the supply of especially smaller-sized houses and the construction of higher-density flats and townhouses, is expected to continue. Of a total of more than 1,1 million private sector-financed new housing units built between the beginning of 1994 and late 2013, more than 800 000, or around 73%, were constructed in the segments of houses less than 80m² and flats and townhouses.
Absa Housing Review 2014 Q1

Government to audit privately owned land
SA Commercial Prop - South Africa
The government is to embark on the second phase of its land audit, aimed at identifying who owns the 79% of privately owned land in SA, including their nationality and their demographic profile.

This process would also involve the modernisation of SA’s property register — the cadastral — by creating an electronic system.

The director-general of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, Mduduzi Shabane, told the National Council of Province’s select committee on public services yesterday that the proposal to establish an electronic register of property would be presented to Parliament after the general election scheduled for May 7. The system would also be able to track changes in patterns of land ownership in future. The government has indicated it plans to revise the regime governing land ownership by foreign nationals.
SA Commercial Prop

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