Average house price growth declined marginally in December 2012, down 0.6% year on year and 1.7% month on month to R865,164 in December, according to the latest statistics from ooba, South Africa’s biggest bond originator. However, the average nominal house price in the 12 months to December 2012 grew 3.9% year on year, from R830,641 in 2011 to an average of R862,940 in 2012.
ooba continues to report record approval rates on top of the record highs set in October and November 2012. The value of home loans approved through ooba in December 2012 is up 49% on December 2011, while November and October were up 30% and 47% respectively on the prior year.
The first-time buyer market remains in positive growth year on year. The average house price for first time buyers is up 1.4% year on year to R665,167. Month-on-month shows a marginal decline of 0.2%. The percentage of first-time buyers among ooba’s total applications increased 3.9% year on year to 52.7%.
The average home loan deposit dropped substantially in December to R137,290 (15.9% of the purchase price), down 21.7% year on year and 4.2% month on month. The average approved bond size increased 5.0% to R727,874 in December this year from R693,528 in December 2011.
The average initial decline ratio decreased 5.7% year on year to 46.0% in December and the percentage of applications that were declined by one bank but approved by another improved by 0.9% to 23.2%.
ooba’s effective approval rate, which is the overall percentage of loans approved once ooba has shopped around to all banks, was 64.7% in December, 4.9% up on December 2011. ooba’s trailing approval rate, which takes into account loans approved after month-end is currently 71.3%.
ooba currently obtains approval for 71% of all home loan applications it processes, which compares favourably with the average bank approval rate of 54% across the major lenders. “ooba leads the market with the highest home loan approval rates,” says Geffen. “Based on the stats, homebuyers using ooba have on average a 32% better chance of securing home loan approval.”
He says that the market conditions are supported by the low interest rate environment coupled with subdued property price inflation and improved lending policies. He expects the current environment to persist into 2013.