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17 March 2011

FNB Home Buying Confidence Indicator - First Quarter 2011
FNB - South Africa
Outlook - Agent expectations in the near term
The FNB Home Buying Confidence Indicator attempts to capture agents expectations of the near term. In each agent survey, we ask them whether they expect activity in the market to increase, decrease, or remain the same in the next 3 months. In order to eliminate expectations driven by seasonal factors, we use a 4-quarter moving average in which a "increase" response gets a rating of 1, "unchanged" gets a zero, and "decline" gets a rating of -1. We see that the peak of agent confidence was for the 4 quarters up to and including the 1st quarter of 2010, understandable given the huge interest rate cuts that took place from late-2008 to August 2009. The 1st quarter 2011 rating represents further decline from the previous quarters, but is not a bad rating by historic levels. More than representing weak expectations by agents, its current level arguably represents the expectation of a "settling" down of the market after the biggest improvements in demand took place late in 2009 and early-2010. To give one an idea of what we mean, the majority, i.e. 56%, of agents surveyed in the 1st quarter expected activity to remain unchanged, compared to 40% anticipating further strengthening and only 4% expecting weakening. This is still a good result, but moderated from the 3rd quarter 2009 survey when as many as 61% of respondents were expecting strengthening.

The list of factors influencing estate agent expectations of near term activity sees interest rates still ranking as most important. The currently low interest rates are overwhelmingly seen as a positive factor, as is positive consumer sentiment. Banks' credit criteria, however, continue to be seen as the "spoiler", with deposit requirements being seen as especially troublesome. Pricing and affordability appears split both ways, with some seeing prices as still unrealistic and others believing that realism has improved. The response regarding a longer average time on the market along with a higher percentage of sellers having to drop their asking price, however, still tends to point towards a lack of realism.
FNB Home Buying Confidence Indicator

Wealthy suburbs show most recovery in price and activity
RealEstateWeb - South Africa
Survey reveals...

South Africa's wealthiest suburbs have shown the most significant rates of recovery in house price inflation from January 2009 to June 2010, with the top 15 suburbs recording an average actual increase of 10.4%.

This is according to a recent survey conducted by Lightstone property analysts, which shows that recovery in house price values in the past 18 months has been largely concentrated in South Africa?s top three cities and in the wealthy segment of the market, although recovery in terms of activity has been more robust in markets where houses sell for under R2-million.

The ranking features seven Johannesburg suburbs with Parkhurst at the top of the list, three Cape Town suburbs featuring super-wealthy Constantia in fourth place four Durban suburbs and Pretoria's affluent Waterkloof.
RealEstate Web

Singapore Proposes New Measures To Protect Conveyancing Money
The Gov Monitor - Singapore
The Ministry of Law (MinLaw) has introduced the Conveyancing (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill in Parliament on 10 March 2011 to propose new measures to safeguard conveyancing money belonging to buyers and sellers of property. The Conveyancing (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill makes amendments to the Conveyancing Law and Property Act and the Legal Profession Act.

Money for the purchase or from the sale of a home makes up a substantial portion of an individual's assets, and should be properly protected. The new measures aim to address the risk of rogue lawyers defalcating clients' conveyancing money.
The Gov Monitor

Axed estate agency board CEO loses court bid
Mail and Guardian - South Africa
Axed Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) CEO Nomonde Mapetla has lost her urgent bid to get her job back.

"A matter of this nature and complexity should not be brought urgently," said Judge Lotter Wepener in the South Gauteng High Court on Friday in handing down his judgement on the urgency of Mapetla's application.

He said he was not ruling on the validity of her case, but declined to grant her urgent access to the court.

Mapetla also lost in her bid to have the board of the EAAB prohibited from acting as a board.
Mail and Guardian

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