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5 June 2008

House prices poised to free fall
Business Report - South Africa

Combination of desperate sellers, fewer buyers and increasingly cautious banks is knocking market
Pretoria - House sellers must brace for a 40 percent drop in selling prices from the highs of last year, to price levels last seen two years ago.

This was the warning issued yesterday by Lew Geffen, who has about 40 years' experience in property and is the chairman of Sothebys International Reality.

His warning comes as banks have tightened up on credit and are cutting costs to cushion the impact of rising bad loans on profit.

Major banks - Standard Bank, Absa, FirstRand and Nedbank - said last month that loan defaults would crimp profit growth this year on the back of rising borrowing costs. The Reserve Bank has raised interest rates nine times since June 2006.
Business Report

Giving new life to old neighbourhoods
RodneyHayter.com - South Africa
As development land becomes scarcer and building and service costs rocket, greater emphasis is being placed on restorative development.

"This refers to the redevelopment of older or decaying residential areas to return value to existing infrastructure, and is widely seen as a solution to urban sprawl, as well as a way to halt further degradation of the natural environment and preserve scarce resources," says Berry Everitt, MD of the Chas Everitt International property group.

Already accounting for more than a US$1-trillion spent world-wide, the trend also represents a rapidly growing economic development opportunity for businesses and individual investors as well as communities, according to real estate analysts.
Rodney Hayter.com

Blacks cross ownership bar
Financial Mail - South Africa
It's almost 17 years since the Natives Land Act of 1913 and the Group Areas Act of 1950 were repealed on June 5 1991, allowing black South Africans to own homes anywhere in their country.

This year, for the first time, there are more black (African) homeowners registered at the deeds office (1,71m at the end of April) than white (1,68m). According to data released by Lightstone Risk Management blacks make up nearly 50% of South Africans who have bought homes for the first time since 1997. It's a story of rapid property transformation since 1994.

Anthony Miller - Data revolution
That's the good news. The bad is that while home ownership gives millions of formerly disadvantaged South Africans the chance to build their property wealth, integrated residential SA has some way to go.
Financial Mail

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