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24 January 2013

Conveyancing Association pledges to demystify industry
Mortgage Solutions - UK
Some of the UK’s biggest conveyancing firms have united to launch a set of industry pledges aimed at demystifying the sector.

The launch took place at a meeting of The Conveyancing Association in London and saw its member firms commit to six new rules intended to improve consumer understanding and confidence.

The pledges include a commitment to quality service, increased focus on client satisfaction, industry support and more stringent anti-fraud measures.

Conveyancing Association chairman Eddie Goldsmith said that it was important to make the conveyancing process simpler for consumers to understand.
Mortgage Solutions

Property Barometer - Home Buying Estate Agent Survey
FNB - South Africa

IN SUMMARY – LATE IN 2012, AGENTS POINTED TO SLIGHTLY SLOWER, ALTHOUGH STILL GOOD, DEMAND IN THE RESIDENTIAL MARKET. HOWEVER, THEY MAY HAVE BEEN STARTING TO FEEL THE INITIAL EFFECTS OF THE WEAKER ECONOMY IN THE 2 ND HALF OF THE YEAR.

The FNB Estate Agent Survey is a useful tool with which to gain insight into residential market trends first hand, because estate agents experience changes in the market arguably before any of the other market role players.

In the 4th quarter Estate Agent Survey, the overall impression gained from the sample of agents surveyed is one of mild weakening in residential demand, at the end of a relatively strong year.  The situation was far from bad, with average time on the market remaining at levels lower than in the 1st half of the year, and a significant percentage of agents still cited stock constraints.

But perhaps slower demand late in 2012 was to be expected, as major industrial action disruptions, along with a global economy slow period, saw our own economic growth slow significantly in the 2nd half of 2012, and this must surely have some negative impact on property. Indeed, as opposed to the 3rd quarter, we saw a swing in the percentages of agents experiencing “consumer positive sentiment” versus those seeing “Economic stress/pessimism”, with those experiencing positive consumer sentiment declining sharply in terms of percentage of total agents.  It would thus appear that they did start to perceive greater economic pressure in the 4th quarter compared to previous quarters.

This slightly more negative situation need not continue for long though, as industrial action disruptions may have subsided significantly, and there are signs that the global economy is moving into a mildly stronger patch once more.

Agents do, also, still point towards a very significant level of financial pressure, which manifests itself in a still-high percentage of sellers down scaling due to financial pressure.  However, they indicated a mild improvement in this still-high percentage from a previous 20% to the 4th quarter’s 18%.  It is important that this indicator of financial pressure decline significantly further before the next interest rate hiking cycle.

Finally, the agents surveyed harboured slightly weaker expectations regarding near term future activity, even excluding seasonal factors, with the level of the Estate Agent Confidence Indicator, which reflects agent near term expectations of market direction, slightly down on the previous quarter’s levels.
FNB Property Barometer_Home Buying Estate Agent Survey 4th Quarter 2012

Demand a receipt for your property rental
iolproperty - South Africa
When the tenant makes a payment, the landlord must issue a receipt for the sum received. Even if the tenant pays into the landlord or his agent's bank account, a receipt must be given to the tenant.

While the tenant's bank deposit slip or copy of electronic payment is proof of payment, it is not a receipt.

What is the reason for issuing a receipt?

The following statements in the judgment of Michel v Rex 1944 OPD 227 show the importance of a receipt: "The primary function of a receipt is to prove payment of a pre-existing debt or the delivery of property. "(T)here is an obligation on a creditor to give a receipt when the debtor tenders payment."
Iol.co.za

Residential building statistics
Absa - South Africa
Residential building activity improves towards end-2012 November 2012 saw residential building activity in the South African market for new housing improving compared with a year ago. Levels of activity increased in both the planning and construction phases of new housing in the penultimate month of last year.

The number of new housing units for which building plans were approved, increased by 764 units to 5 439 units in November last year from 4 675 units in November 2011, which translated into growth of 16,3% y/y. The November 2012 figure was 1 897 units, or 53,6%, more than the number for which plans were approved in April last year. The segment for flats and townhouses was mainly responsible for the growth in the planning phase late last year, showing growth of 116,2% y/y in the number of units for which plans were approved in the period of September to November. This will positively impact the construction of higher-density housing in 2013.

In the construction phase of new housing, the number of units completed increased by 920, or 24,7% y/y, to a total of 4 641 units in November last year from 3 721 units a year ago. All three segments of housing contributed to this increase.
Absa building stats Nov 2012

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