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Latest South African property news

South Africa can be proud of its cadastre

The following report appeared on 16 March 2019 in the English version of the Greek newspaper Kathimerini.

Greece, the only European country without a proper register of land ownership, is confident it will finally have one in place by 2021 after spending hundreds of millions of euros on a project that began more than 20 years ago. The lack of a complete record of property ownership across the country is a major barrier to investment, proper taxation and growth. It was once a buzzword for the bureaucratic morass of Greece, which was forced to request three international bailouts from 2010 to 2015 totalling 280 billion euros to stay afloat. On Wednesday, the country opened its biggest land registry office in Athens, home to nearly half of the Greek population. The government hopes the new centre will help speed up the process to compile a nationwide database as Athens residents will be able to register their assets in rural Greece without having to travel outside the capital. The new registry is a 3 000 m² cavernous office complex to the north of Athens with a green metal roof that was built to host gymnastics events at the 2004 Olympics. Staff at the new centre and in smaller offices outside the capital aim to establish an electronic database that will cover the whole country by 2021, a deadline agreed with Greece’s foreign creditors. Concluding the project has been a condition of each of Athens’s three bailouts, the last of which expired last August. (Reuters)

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The drivers of house prices

The house market is not a global market like commodity markets. Thus, if house prices in Cape Town are cheap relative to Melbourne, potential buyers of houses in Melbourne do not flock to Cape Town, thereby pushing up prices in Cape Town. Put differently, fixed properties – with the emphasis on ‘fixed’ – are not globally tradeable or transportable like crude. Because one cannot live in Cape Town and commute daily to Melbourne, prices in Cape Town will not eventually – through arbitrage – equate those in Melbourne. But one can buy Saudi-Arabian crude (a transportable commodity) and deliver it in South Africa.

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