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Fraudsters force the vulnerable out their properties
IolProperty - South Africa
Housing Class Action (HCA), an NGO dealing with evictions, has called on the government to establish a full-scale public inquiry into evictions and property fraud, including extreme corruption in the legal system and the police services.

The NGO, which operates from a tiny office at the Central Methodist Church in Joburg, is inundated with hundreds of queries every month.

Its legal adviser, King Sibiya, said property fraud and evictions had reached crisis levels.

Thousands of people, especially senior citizens, single parents, widows, orphans and people with disabilities, were being targeted by unscrupulous estate agents working with lawyers, policemen, banks and family members to evict or threaten the most vulnerable with evictions while others are charged with trespassing and sent to jail for up to two years, said Sibiya.

Yes, you can buy a home of your own
Harcourts - South Africa
Buying a home for the first time is never easy, but it is usually quite possible for those who are determined to do so, says Richard Gray, CEO of Harcourts Real Estate. “Most of the financial and economic factors that prospective buyers cite as major obstacles to home ownership can be overcome,” he says, “given enough time. The trick is to make a plan of action and not give up.”

For example, it could take some months to clean up your credit record if you have a history of late payments or any unresolved judgments for debt. However, if you are really serious about buying your own home, you will make a start right away by paying your bills on time, sorting out the judgments and getting them off your record, and not applying for any more credit or incurring any new debts.

Then once you have done this, Gray says, you should make a serious effort to pay off or significantly reduce any large existing debts such as a student loan, the outstanding balance on your car, your credit card or store card balance. “The banks say a good rule-of-thumb for those getting ready to apply for a home loan is to spend no more than about 35% of their gross monthly income on debt repayments, so that’s what you need to aim for.”
You can own a home

Lower taxes, deposit rates give first-time buying a boost
BetterLife - South Africa
First-time homebuyers are still working hard to get into the property market and as a result they currently account for more than 40% of all home loan grants, according to the latest statistics from BetterLife Home Loans, which is SA’s biggest mortgage originator. “Despite all the economic gloom, we have also seen the actual number of home loan applications from first-time buyers start to pick up again in the past few months,” says BetterLife CEO Shaun Rademeyer.

“This has perhaps been prompted by rising prices and the prospect of higher interest rates in the near future that might prevent them from being able to afford a home or from qualifying for a bond. However, the increase in the transfer duty threshold has really helped, as has a decline in the average deposit size required.”
Lower taxes give boost

Rising urban and suburban rentals strengthen tenants' desire to become home owners
Rawson - South Africa
Recent reports from residential property agents working in South Africa’s big cities, Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town, show that rental rises have often been way ahead of the current inflation rate and often, too, as a percentage well ahead of house price rises, which are now not as spectacular as they were a year ago.

Rentals today, said Mike van Alphen, National Manager of the Rawson Property Group’s bond origination division, Rawson Finance, are increasing faster than he can ever recall in the 45 years that he served in the home loans sector.

“According to one report, studio apartments on Cape Town’s Atlantic Seaboard are now renting at R7,000 to R9,000 per month, one bedroom apartments at R8,000 to R10,000 and two bedroom apartments from R9,000 to R22,000 – and elsewhere the figures are much the same.”

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