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Pick the ‘perfect’ apartment and cut costs
Trafalgar - South Africa
Landlords and managing agents are expecting the demand for rental properties in city centres and areas close to public transport hubs to start rising steeply in the coming months as households once again start to feel the pinch of higher fuel and electricity prices.

“And the demand will be even higher once those increases start driving up inflation and the Reserve Bank is forced to start raising interest rates again,” says Andrew Schaefer, MD of leading national property management company Trafalgar.

“Consequently we would suggest that those who are considering a move so that they can reduce their transport or living costs should make it without delay, especially if their target areas are the inner cities, or the suburbs close to the Gautrain stations or along the new bus rapid transport (BRT) routes.”
Pick the perfect apartment

Mabunda and Scott elected as co-chairpersons of LSSA
Law Society of South Africa
Johannesburg attorney and Black Lawyers Association President Busani Mabunda and Pietermaritzburg attorney Richard Scott have been elected as Co-Chairpersons of the Law Society of South Africa (LSSA). They take the helm of the attorneys’ profession on the eve of the inaugural meeting of the National Forum on the Legal Profession, the transitional body that will debate, negotiate and define the regulation of the legal profession – attorneys and advocates – once the Legal Practice Council takes over the regulation.

Chapter 10 of the Legal Practice Act 28 of 2014, which implements the National Forum, came into effect on 1 February 2015. Justice Minister Michael Masutha told the LSSA annual general meeting in Durban this past weekend that the inaugural meeting of the National Forum is expected to take place soon.

Mr Scott says: ‘The LSSA will take a leading role in the deliberations of the National Forum. In addition the LSSA will also discuss creating a unified body that will continue to serve the interests of attorneys, as distinct from the strictly regulatory functions that will be performed by the Legal Practice Council under the Legal Practice Act.’
Mabunda and Scott elected as Co-Chairpersons

Criminal syndicates operating in Joburg's sectional title complexes
IolProperty - South Africa
A number of criminal syndicates are operating in sectional title complexes throughout Johannesburg's northern suburbs, for which they fraudulently apply for lease agreements. This was discovered by Renprop's Residential Rentals Division when checking tenant applications for rental properties that it manages.

"Landlords who do not vet their tenants against stringent guidelines are putting their investment at risk," says Sheree Peach of Renprop. Peach points to the fact that generally the laws governing rental agreements offer far more protection to the tenants than landlords, which means that getting rid of an undesirable tenant such as these is exceptionally difficult, time consuming and expensive.
Iol Property

Credit and mortgage advances
Absa - South Africa
Low growth in household credit and mortgage balances continues

Growth in the total value of outstanding credit balances in the South African household sector slowed down further to 3,3% year-on-year (y/y) at the end of in February 2015 to its lowest level since January 2010. Growth in both household secured and unsecured credit balances was lower at end-February compared with the same month a year ago.

Household secured credit balances, with a value of R1 082,7 billion at end-February and 75,9% of total household credit balances, showed growth of 2,8% y/y at the end of February, marginally down from2,9% y/y at end-January. Secured credit includes instalment sales, leasing finance and mortgage loans.

Growth in household unsecured credit balances, amounting to R344,7 billion at end-February and 24,1% of total household credit balances, was recorded at 5,0% y/y at the end of February (5,3% y/y at end-January). Unsecured credit consists of general loans and advances, credit card debt and overdrafts.
Credit and mortgage advances (Feb 2015)

Certain - but not all - South African banks are now easing up slightly on their bond loan criteria
Rawson - South Africa
Reports from various sources indicating that South African banks are now easing up on their bond loan criteria have been confirmed by the national manager of a bond origination division with a countrywide footprint.

Mike van Alphen, National Manager of Rawson Finance, one of the faster growing bond originators in South Africa today, says that certain banks are now showing a real hunger to get back into the bond finance market and have slightly relaxed on some of the more stringent clauses in their bond loan criteria.

“Previously,” says van Alphen, “the generally accepted norm was for the banks to give approved creditworthy customers (i.e. those without any blemish on their credit record) a 90% loan at prime, 9,25% plus 0,75%. Now we are seeing 90% bonds awarded at prime minus 0,45% - again provided the client is deemed creditworthy. This is a significant change, especially as in many cases it has been applied not just to the banks’ clients but to a wider range of the public who have not previously dealt with them.”

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