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14 July 2005

Government 'must help unlock wealth in township properties'
Business Day - South Africa
Government intervention is needed to stimulate the residential property market in townships, says property economist Francois Viruly. The state had an important role to play in sorting out land ownership and access to title deeds, Viruly said yesterday.

"Government must create an enabling environment for property transactions in township areas that will allow the property market to function efficiently. In certain areas or townships it's not clear who owns what," he said. Allowing more people to use their property to raise capital is a key to boosting economic growth.
Business Day

Stiff new law to protect environment
Business Day - South Africa
With effect from today, companies violating environmental regulations face a fine of up to R5m or 10 years in prison, following the expiry of government's "window period" for offenders last night.

Under new law, companies need permission for the construction and upgrading of infrastructure such as communication networks, including masts, towers, reflector dishes, marine telecommunications lines and cables.

The National Environmental Management Second Amendment Act requires all companies with operations considered harmful to the environment to seek government authorisation.
Business Day

New rates plan tough to implement
Property24.com - South Africa
There have to be serious doubts about the practicalities of implementing the new Municipal Property Rates Act, which is aimed at creating a standard method of calculating rates in all of the country's 284 municipalities.

So says Gerhard Kotzé, CEO of ERA South Africa, who agrees that the purpose of the Act is "sensible" in that it aims to create a more efficient revenue collection structure and address the imbalances of the past by broadening the tax base.
Property24.com

Property market 'not experiencing bubble'
Business.iafrica.com - South Africa
Indications are that the South African residential property market is not generally experiencing bubble conditions yet.

However, it is quite conceivable that certain types of housing in certain areas of the country are experiencing bubble conditions, which might result in the prices of those properties declining when the cycle turns, according to Absa senior economist Jacques du Toit.
In some areas, he points out, the buy-to-let market has been instrumental in driving house prices higher and any saturation of and a massive sell-off in this market could therefore lead to either stagnating or weaker prices.
Business.iafrica.com

Mortgages up R10bn on property bonanza
Business Day - South Africa
Lending growth among the country's large banks continues unabated, with loans across all categories increasing at a rapid pace in May.

According to May's DI900s - the individual balance sheets submitted by banks to the Reserve Bank - total growth in mortgage advances between April and May grew R10,3bn, or 2,37%, to R443,2bn.

However, an analyst said it was more accurate to compare growth on an annual basis due to cyclical factors.

Year-on-year, mortgage lending by banks increased R93,7bn or 26,8%.

FirstRand Bank and Investec were the biggest beneficiaries of the new growth, both increasing their market share between April and May, while Standard Bank's share remained static and Nedbank's and Absa's declined marginally.
Business Day

Land surveys arrive in Cyberspace
San Diego Business Journal - USA
Professional land surveyors, engineers and developers have always have access to land surveying maps and engineering plans. Now regular folks can get the info for free through San Diego County's new Survey Records System on the Internet.

"We have more than 280,000 images online so far," said Phil Giurbino, county surveyor. "That number will continually grow as we add new material."
San Diego Business Journal

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