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28 February 2019

Residential building statistics and property stock
South Africa - Absa
Residential building activity in 2018 in line with that of previous years

Levels of building activity in the South African market for new housing remained subdued in 2018, which were much in line with trends since 2010 after the economy emerged from recession in 2008/09. The planning phase of new housing, as reflected by the number of building plans approved by local government institutions, contracted marginally in 2018 from 2017. The construction phase of new housing, i.e. the volume of housing units reported as completed, showed some low single-digit growth last year after contracting in 2017. These trends are based on data published by Statistics South Africa in respect of building activity related to private sector-financed housing (see explanatory note).

The number of new housing units for which building plans were approved was down by 0,5%, or only 300 plans, to 58 051 plans in the twelve months up to December 2018 compared with a year ago. This came to only 56,5% of a high of 102 691 plans approved in 2007. The slight drop in building plans approved in 2018 was largely the result of a decline of 17,8%, or 3 613 plans, to a total of 16 673 plans in the segment of new houses smaller than 80m², while the flat and townhouse segment showed growth of 15,7%, or 3 576 plans, to a total of 26 329 plans.
Building stats Dec 2018

The risks affecting the sustainability and viability of law firms
South Africa - De Rebus
Many legal practitioners indicate that they face a constant struggle to survive economically in practice. There are a multitude of reasons for the challenges faced by these practitioners and there are a number of risks posed by the challenges associated with the sustainability and viability of the legal practices concerned.

The Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) reports that there are currently 26 701 attorneys and 6 669 candidate attorneys in South Africa (SA) (www.lssa.org.za). There has been a steady growth in the profession in the past decade and this growth must be considered against the background of the slowing economic growth and other factors that affect the profession. With the unique nature and structure of the South African economy (and society) in general, questions must be asked regarding whether or not the landscape of legal practice is saturated and to what extent current practices are sustainable in the medium to long-term. Is the available ‘legal services economic pie’ large enough to cater for the growing number of legal practitioners? Does the current spread of legal services offered by the profession cater for the ever-changing needs of the consumers of legal services? Is there an appropriate spread of legal skills and instructions to meet the needs of all stakeholders in a sustainable basis?
De Rebus

Are law firms wising up to conveyancing scams?
UK - Today's Conveyancer
As law firms and clients wise up to fraud, the cyber criminals are having to find new avenues to use their old scamming tricks to intercept money transfers.

Conveyancing scams, which are a type of email modification fraud, are rife due to the significant amount of money passing between a law firm and its client. Criminals intervene and falsify emails between clients and law firms, resulting in bank details being changed and money being transferred to hackers instead.

These types are scams are also known as “Friday afternoon Fraud” or even “Monday morning Fraud” where conmen will target first thing Monday morning due to staff just starting their working week and perhaps not fully concentrating – or just before the weekend to avoid detection and businesses are closed for the weekend and won’t be noticed until a few days later.
Today's Conveyancer

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