Land scarcity leading to smaller and simpler housing
South Africa - IolProperty
With a shortage of land for housing and an increasing need for urban densification - in the Western Cape in particular - average erven have almost halved in size over the past 40 years.
Data has shown that in Cape Town the average full title stand is currently less than half the size it used to be.
Today's homes also have fewer luxury features like swimming pools, garages and dining rooms, and building sizes have decreased. In addition, sectional title homes are far more common.
"This longer-term trend towards 'smaller and simpler' is set to continue," says FNB's household and property sector strategist John Loos in FNB's latest Property Barometer.
Selecting a commercial property asset type
South Africa - Rawson
If you are a new or first-time investor in commercial property, selecting a specific asset class in which to invest can be an overwhelming task. Breaking down the decision into its simplest components and assessing the options from an educated vantage point is the key to getting started. “Though there are many specific commercial property types ultimately available, these can be broadly categorised into three main groups: retail, offices and industrial,” says Leon Breytenbach, National Manager of the Rawson Property Group’s commercial division.
Taking the first step
“There are a number of factors to consider before you finally decide which property type will be the best one for you,” explains Breytenbach. You would be wise not to make your decision hastily. There is no right or wrong answer as each of the three categories has its own risks and rewards. You could find a great opportunity in any of the three main asset class categories. It is, therefore, wise to examine all three categories, taking into consideration what you want to put into the investment and which class will ultimately suit you best.
Queensland lawyers brace for digital disruption with the arrival of Amazon
Australia - Courier Mail
Queensland law firms are bracing for digital disruption that could see internet giants like Amazon offer cut-price wills and conveyancing.
Some of the state’s top lawyers told a recent BDO professional services lunch that increasing competition from virtual firms and artificial intelligence threatened their business model.
James Conomos Lawyers director Jim Conomos said law firms may be about to experience their “Kodak moment” as digitally delivered legal services took off.
A Kodak moment refers to the iconic photographic company’s failure to take advantage of digital technology when it could.
Banks to face R60 billion class action suit
South Africa - Moneyweb
South Africa’s largest banks stand to face a R60 billion claim related to their conduct in attaching and selling the homes of defaulting debtors at prices below market value.
Advocate Douglas Shaw filed an application on Wednesday for direct access at the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) on behalf of 219 people nationwide and “the country as a whole”. It is to be argued that going through three courts (Magistrates Court, High Court and Supreme Court of Appeal) is inappropriate as the case is being brought by people who are “exceptionally poor” and have been made “even poorer by the unconstitutional actions of banks”.
This case is interesting because it questions 2 fundamental taken-for-granted facets of democracy - the right of Appeal, and the provision of Legal Aid, an Executive facilitation of access to the Law. Should the Court allow this direct suit before it, would it be sweeping away the right to an Appeal, one of the basic pillars of democratic judicial institutions?
Should it not, would it not be not allowing Goliath to trample over the little Davids, given the vastly unequal resources available to both parties to the suit, and the Corporate's ability to drag out the process, testing the mettle of the Claimants right to the end?
If allowed, does it not further challenge the purpose of Legal Aid, which, if accessed, will enable the claimants to stay the course? Will the floodgates be opened to all sorts of “indigent” claimants in the future should this application prevail ? Either way, the Court is in a bind.