Rise in bank's house price index slows to 6.9%

Rise in bank's house price index slows to 6.9% :

The rise in the Standard Bank house price index softened to 6.9 percent year-on-year in September from a revised 7.6 percent year-on-year figure the month before.

In September, the nominal (not adjusted for inflation) index monitoring sectional title units matched the August improvement of 4.2 percent year-on-year.

Momentum in the nominal index monitoring freehold properties eased to 8.7 percent year on year in September from 9.5 percent year on year in August. In spite of the softness in September, the index remains range bound between 7 percent and 8 percent.

Although also range-bound between 2 percent and 3 percent, household credit growth continues to show signs of life.

Recently, growth in household mortgage advances bucked the moderating trend in overall household credit growth, improving to 2.73 percent year on year in August from 2.68 percent in July.

Encouragingly, data from the National Credit Regulator reveals that mortgage obligations largely continue to be paid on time, with 90.99 percent of the rand value of outstanding mortgage debt (89.9 percent of the number of outstanding mortgage loans) classified as 'current' as of the second quarter of this year.

This bodes well for the structure of the housing market, and it appears that in the near term the housing market is unlikely to see an influx of properties from foreclosures.

Growth in residential construction is maintaining a healthy pace.

The value of real (inflationadjusted) completed residential buildings improved by 9.7 percent year-on-year in the year to July, which was an improvement on the 1.1 percent growth seen in the year to July last year.

Pipeline activity also remains robust, with the real value of residential building plans passed up 20 percent year-on-year to July.

As has been the trend over this year, the construction of flats and townhouses continues to be favoured over free-standing dwellings, with the number of completed flats and townhouses growing by 20.2 percent in the year to July.

Over the same period, the number of smaller (less than 80m²) free-standing residential units completed shrank by 4.8 percent.

The number of larger (80m² and more) free-standing residential units completed grew by 0.5 percent.

Standard Bank said this relatively stronger supply contributed to the relative softness in the sectional title market.

Household mortgage growth so far this year is an improvement on last year (averaging 2.8 percent year-on-year to August, compared with 1.7 percent in August last year).

Although it is not expected to shoot the lights out, the house price index is on course to record a marginal improvement this year, with year-toSeptember improvements averaging 7.5 percent, compared with the 7 percent year-on-year average in the year to September last year.

However, lacklustre macroeconomic supports may limit improvements to single digits this year.

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Denny Crane

Denny Crane
It's not me ... yet. Denny Crane from the TV series Boston Legal. Click on picture if you're not sure who he is!