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04 Mar 2021 12:00 am

This week: National house price inflation was 3.05% as at the end of December 2020; from high street to cloud - small law firms prepare for a bright future; and how agents can protect themselves against fraud.

Residential Property Index
South Africa - Lightstone
National house price inflation was 3.05% as at the end of December 2020. The low, high, and luxury value bands ended the year at about 2.5% while the mid value segment ended the year at 4.9%.

A few general observations can be made about the final inflation figure for 2020. Contrary to expectations housing prices did not crash during the year. On the contrary the luxury segment that has been trending closer to -0.5% at the end of 2019 is not growing close to 2.5% per annum. the Mid value segment has also added some speed going from 3.6% to 4.9% while the high value segment has remained fairly stable at about 2.5%.

It should however be noted that the low value segment has decrease from 10.2% to 2.5%. At this point it is difficult to point to the exact reason for the increase in the luxury segment and the decrease of the low value segment. A possible reason could be because the luxury segment is far more dependent on interest rate, which have decreased significantly, while the low value segment is more dependent on economic growth which has decreased significantly.
Lightstone

Roundtable from high street to cloud
UK - LawGazette
Some small law firms are at risk as the pandemic continues to bite. But others are planning for a bright future, using lessons they have learned in lockdown

Numbering around 8,000, smaller law firms are the backbone of the legal profession in England and Wales. Whether they exist to serve a local community, or a niche legal need, the predominance of these independent businesses ensures client choice and competition on a scale that accountancy, for example, does not.

The coronavirus pandemic has tested the resilience and adaptability of these firms, necessitating huge changes in the way most work. The pandemic might be a one-off, but it has changed this market.

At this Gazette virtual roundtable, there are several solicitors whose firms went from ‘traditional’ high street practice – office-based with face-to-face meetings – to remote working overnight, at a time when finances are under pressure for many.
LawGazette

Agents – how can your clients protect themselves against conveyancing fraud?
UK - PropertyIndustryEye
Conveyancing fraud was a major issue long before Covid-19 struck. The pandemic has, however, created new opportunities for scammers. This means that it is more important than ever to know how to protect your clients against conveyancing fraud. Here is a quick guide to help.

Understanding conveyancing fraud
At the end of the day, all conveyancing fraud hinges on getting the victim to believe that they are dealing with their genuine solicitor (or one of their solicitor’s employees). Once the victim is convinced of this, the fraudster can direct them to make a bank transfer into an account of their choosing. This might be for a payment the victim was expecting to make anyway (e.g. a deposit) or for a cost the fraudster invented.

This means that there are three golden rules for protecting against conveyancing fraud. The first is to protect personal identity. The second is to make sure that your clients positively and robustly identify anyone with whom they have dealings with. The third is to make sure that they understand what they are paying and why.
PropertyIndustyEye