The world's top performing property market

Plus Cape Town’s new bark laws.

CAPE TOWN - Israel is known for its difficulties but when it comes to property, alls fair in love and war, and Israel, having seemingly sidestepped the worst of the recession, now enjoys the position of top performing real estate market in the world.

That is according to the Global Property Guide, a US trade magazine that monitors international housing markets. It reports that real estate in Israel has been the best performing for the last two years since the global housing crash in 2008. Israel's housing prices rose sixth-fastest among 36 countries in the second quarter of 2010 but after adjustments in the top five countries for economic crashes and rebounds, and reviewing the data for the past two years, Israeli real estate came out top.

In a tiny country like Israel, there is high demand and low supply, banks generally require a minimum 30% down payment for most mortgages, and prices are climbing in all areas of the country. This is partly due to last year's ten-month freeze imposed by the government on Jewish construction on the West Bank.

R29bn owed to councils around the country
Local councils are not enjoying good times and while there's a lot of talk about the internet "cloud" it appears there's a debt cloud too.

Six of South Africa's metropolitan councils jointly owe R29bn for unpaid water, electricity and property rates bills. Johannesburg leads the way being owed R8.4bn, followed by Ekurhuleni with R7.7bn, Cape Town is owed R4bn.

While a lot of this is consumer debt, the separate provincial administrations also owe their respective councils a small fortune. The Western Cape government owes Cape Town R139m, Eastern Cape owes R74m to the Nelson Mandela council, and apparently KwaZulu-Natal owes the city a mighty R682m, although they are disputing this.

The Johannesburg council confirmed that last year it could not account for R250m worth of electricity, thought to have been stolen through illegal connections to the local distribution network. Cape Town is not much better with 83.4m kilolitres of water worth R493m unaccounted for and 810m kilowatt-hours of electricity worth R485m lost in the ‘cloud'.

So don't sweat the few hundred bucks you owe for electricity it's a drop in a very large cloud.

Barking mad: Tough time for dogs and their owners

After three years of workshops, debates and 115 amendments what do we get? A barking law. Good job Cape Town - watch out dogs - your barking time is limited. That's right dogs will only be allowed to bark for six minutes of every hour when the law comes into effect.

Take that mutts, after six minutes of endless yelping you can now... shut up or else. I'm not sure who will be policing this. Who will quieten the dog after its allotted speaking time is up? Other questions; will dogs be issued with special doggy stop watches and can they accumulate talk time while they sleep. And how did they decide on six minutes?

The new by laws also apply to keeping a vicious dog, not removing your dog's poop, keeping more than two dogs, and not sterilising your pooch. Serious offences like animal cruelty can land offenders in jail or with a R20 000 fine.

According to mayoral committee (mayco) member for safety and security JP Smith, our by-laws were so good that that the City of Johannesburg copied the Cape Town's animal by-law word for word. I think that's called laziness.


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