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15 June 2005

Originator, Developer Seal R10,5bn Deal
Property24.com - South Africa
Mortgage origination company PA BetterBond has just concluded a landmark deal with KwaZulu-Natal lifestyle developer Elan Investments for the processing of home loan applications for 7000 new residential units planned for market delivery within the next 12 months.

The total value of the deal is conservatively estimated at R10,5-billion and is believed to be the biggest yet between a residential developer and a mortgage originator.
Property24.com

Property & Planning: Land particulars
Legal Week - UK
The Freedom of Information Act spells opportunity for property companies. Under the legislation, public authorities can be forced to disclose information about their plans to dispose of, or procure new land. Dan Tench outlines how the Act may be useful to the property sector.

Few areas of legal practice have as much interaction with the state as property law. Property lawyers may have to deal with public authorities in terms of planning, land registry and environmental matters, as well as potential purchasers and sellers of land.

The Freedom of Information Act 2000, the main provisions of which came into force on 1 January this year, provided for a considerable opening up of information being held by public authorities. This could prove to be a boon or a bane for property lawyers and their clients.
Legal Week

Lawyers must restore faith in property sales
The Scotsman.com - UK
The president of the Law Society recently called on Scotland's legal profession to carefully consider what it could do to maintain and reinforce the benefits of our house purchasing system for the "overall good". His comments recognised the fact that over the past 25 years, a system once the pride of the nation, providing certainty for buyers and sellers, has slowly, subtly been eroded to become a pale imitation of its former self.

Increasingly, buyers find it can take weeks or even months for the exchange of "missives" or formal contractual letters. Instead of regretfully accepting this as the norm, we should recognise it is possible to reverse this degeneration of the Scottish system - and the solution lies primarily in solicitors' hands.
The Scotsman

Dishonest developers threaten Gauteng housing
Business Day - South Africa
Fraud threatened to derail the Gauteng housing department's ambitious plan to eradicate informal settlements by 2014, said housing MEC Nomvula Mokonyane at the weekend.
Speaking at a preview of her department's budget for the 2005-06 financial year, Mokonyane said unscrupulous buyers were tricking cash-strapped low-cost home owners into selling their homes for a pittance. These families then returned to informal settlements, said Mokonyane.

The department has established that of the 450 000 people living in informal settlements in Gauteng, 29 000 have previously received housing subsidies.
Business Day

Title 'saviour' is a money-sucking whirlpool
The Star - South Africa
If registration of property is "the heart of the matter", I hope for Allister Sparks' sake that he has access to an excellent surgeon and a back-up heart (Opinion and Analysis, June 1).

Sparks argues, following economist Hernando de Soto, that the solution to development in South Africa is very simple - give people who have houses the titles to those properties and in their droves they will queue at the banks for loans to start businesses using their properties as mortgage. Unemployment will disappear. People will grow richer. And South Africa will join the prosperous first world.
The Star

Too much Tuscan?
Moneyweb - South Africa
For a nation brimming with creativity and diversity, South African property developers' fixation with so-called Tuscan design is something of a mystery. But, more practically, owners of such homes should perhaps start questioning whether they will be able to resell their properties with ease years from now.

Certainly in Gauteng the hankering after this particular pseudo-European architectural style has been evident for several years. Despite the frank criticism by Pretoria academic Professor Ora Joubert of the functional and cultural problems of this design form in South Africa, Tuscan developments continue to be churned out by the dozen.
Moneyweb

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