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Don't sign estate agents mandates without thinking
IolProperty - South Africa
Property sellers should familiarize themselves with their estate agent mandates before they sign them, to prevent disputes from arising. Mandates, whether sole, dual or multiple agent mandates, are legal contracts between the sellers of the property and the agent involved, says Annette Evans, regional general manager of the Institute of Estate Agents, Western Cape.

Once the document is signed, it is taken that the parties have read, understood and accepted all the conditions in that agreement and cannot be questioned later. Changes to a mandate have to be in writing, and attached to the original mandate, so that if any dispute arises, there is written proof of what agreements were reached, she said. According to the Consumer Protection Act, mandates may be cancelled but this is dependent on many factors determined by the Act which need to be ascertained prior to signature.

Housing Review - Q4 2014
Absa - South Africa
The residential property market will continue to reflect trends in economic growth, employment and household income, property running costs and inflation in general, interest rates, consumers’ credit-risk profiles, banks’ risk appetite and lending criteria and consumer confidence. These factors will drive the affordability of housing and mortgage finance, which will be evident in trends in property demand and supply, property prices, market activity, buying patterns, transaction volumes, the demand for mortgage finance and home loan repayment patterns.

Against the background of trends in and prospects for the economy and household finances, as well as house price growth in the first three quarters of the year, single-digit nominal price growth is set to continue for the remainder of 2014 and in 2015. Real house price growth will be the result of nominal price trends and inflation, with some real price inflation projected for this year and next year.

Growth in outstanding household mortgage balances, which remained low at just above 2% y/y beyond mid-2014, is expected to continue to be in low single-digits up to year-end and in 2015 against the background of the state of household finances and consumer confidence.

Residential building activity will continue to be driven by economic trends, household finances and consumer and building confidence. These factors will impact the demand for and supply of new housing, along with trends in the secondary market for homes, changing lifestyles, the availability of serviced development land and building costs. Building activity for new housing is expected to remain relatively subdued over the next 12 to 18 months, very much along the trends of 2010-2013.
Housing Review 2014 Q4

Home Equity – Is there a right time to use it?
RE/MAX - South Africa
It might be an extremely tempting option for homeowners with equity in their bond account to withdraw some of that wealth and use it for more immediate needs or wants. According to Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, while this may not always be the best idea, there are certain situations where this can actually benefit the homeowner.

“When is comes to a homeowner using their home equity, the important thing is responsible borrowing and only using it when it can put the homeowner in a better financial position than they were in before. The homeowner needs to carefully assess the situation and determine whether the decision could impede them financially or add to their future financial well-being,” advises Goslett.

He notes that with that in mind, there are a few common scenarios in which homeowners use their home equity. Some options may make sense, while others will not – the decision will largely be based on the homeowner’s circumstances and future plans.

Rates Clearance Feedback sessions
City of Cape Town - South Africa
The Rates Clearance Automation and Portal (RCAP) is still a vision for the future, its implementation will result in a number of key changes for attorneys. Its outcome will be to timeously and accurately issue a Rates Clearance certificate by the Rates Clearance section of the revenue department. Currently it is in the Go-Live stage and awareness and education sessions are being held with relevant stakeholders.
Letter to attorneys about RCAP

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