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16 May 2019

Conveyancing examinations: A source of gatekeeping?
South Africa - de Rebus
Conveyancing examinations were a hot topic of discussion at both the recently held Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) and National Association of Democratic Lawyers (NADEL) annual conferences. At issue was the notion that the conveyancing qualification examinations were used as a source of gatekeeping into the specialised field. This notion is based on the high failure rate of the conveyancing examinations.

In May and September 2018, for example, a total of 1 221 students wrote the conveyancing examinations, of that number only 281 passed. Students who write the conveyancing examinations write two papers on the same day. The first paper is a practical test, which is designed to test the competence of a student mainly in the practice and procedure of conveyancing and consists of questions, which require students to draft deeds, certificates, applications, consents, agreements, etcetera. Two hundred marks are awarded for this paper. The second paper, which is theoretical, is designed to test the student’s knowledge of the various statutes, ordinances and decided cases, applicable to conveyancing. One hundred marks are awarded for this paper. To pass the examination, a student needs an aggregate of 50% for both written papers.
de Rebus

Trusting Technology
UK - Todays Conveyancer
Consumer expectations and demand are driving the need to speed up the conveyancing process through digitalisation. As a result, many forward-thinking legal firms are looking to expedite processes by removing ‘print and post’ from their workflow as far as possible. The introduction of new technologies have great potential but need to be proven and trusted to facilitate online communication safely and be integrated into the conveyancing process successfully.

There are a number of reasons for a general lack of trust in new technology introductions. According to the Legal Services Board, Technology and Innovation in Legal Services research report (2018) based on 1502 telephone interviews, the main factors preventing wider take up of technology are: the risks involved in using unproven technology, the potential for greater ethical problems and the lack of IT expertise.
Todays Conveyancer

Slow progress in real estate likely post-election
South Africa - Property360
Experts say SA can expect post-polls improvement in property market, but it will take time

The property market is likely to improve now that the elections are over, but it will not be an immediate recovery, say property experts. Despite much of the property market’s recent slowdown and buyer hesitation being blamed on uncertainty pending the poll, the country still has hurdles in its way.

What is needed now is for the government to “get on with the job of stabilising the country and economy”, says Samuel Seeff, chairman of the Seeff Property Group. This should be a top priority as it is essential to restoring business, investor and economic confidence.

Seeff believes the market is “perfectly poised” for momentum to begin building. “The mortgage landscape and flat interest rate combined with higher stock levels and flat price growth means buyers can find a good deal in the market right now, but they need to feel their money and property are safe, and that they can feel confident about the future of the country.”
Property360

April Property Barometer
South Africa - FNB
Property market still oversupplied
The FNB HPI drifted lower in April, recording 3.4% y/y from a marginally downwardly revised 3.5% in the previous month (originally 3.8%). This takes the year-to-date nominal house price growth to 3.6% y/y, bettering the 3.2% recorded in the same period in 2018.

While the FNB Market Strength Index continues to gauge the market as moderately oversupplied, the pace at which properties are entering the market has slowed in recent months, suggesting that sellers have begun holding back stock amid low demand levels. However, this has not been enough to reverse the balance of demand and supply, which currently favours buyers.

Rental inflation has trended lower in the past twelve months, with the latest print showing an average escalation of 4.0% y/y, virtually flat from 4Q18. This is against the backdrop of a surge in the supply of new flats in the past twelve months or so, as well as rising vacancies in the rental market, estimated to have reached 7% in 1Q19 from 5.5% a year ago1. These trends are reflective of the enduring pressure on household incomes amid a depressed macroeconomic environment.
Property Barometer April 2019

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