Year-on-year property statistics released by ooba, South Africa’s largest bond originator, signal a favourable outlook for the South African property market in 2015.
January’s oobarometer statistics show a 3.7% year-on-year growth in the average house price to a new high of R991 208. In parallel, the average bond price showed an increase of 3.9% over the same period to R834 485.
Positive growth was also experienced in the first-time buyer sector, with a 2.8% year-on-year increase in the purchase price to R775 815. First-time home buyers remain the key drivers of the home loan market, with 53.8% of all home loan applications through ooba in January coming from first-time home buyers, whose average age is 34 years.
CEO of ooba, Rhys Dyer says: “The housing market remains solid and prices are expected to steadily increase throughout 2015.
“The South African Reserve Bank’s decision to keep the interest rate unchanged on 29th January is a great relief to South African property owners. Relatively low interest rates and an expected drop in the inflation rate, driven by lower fuel prices, will strengthen household disposable income. This gives prospective buyers an opportunity to acquire property and secure home loan finance at an affordable cost of credit. “
Dyer points out that some of the major lenders have started to relax their credit policies and are now looking to lend more at higher loan-to-value ratios, evidence that banks’ lending confidence has improved as property prices continue to strengthen and the risk of an immediate rate hike diminishes.
“With inflation under downward pressure and interest rates forecast to remain at current levels until later in the year, now is a good time for first-time buyers to gain a foothold in the property market,” says Dyer.