Today’s decision by the Monetary Policy Committee to keep the repo rate unchanged was widely anticipated and welcome, particularly against a backdrop of rising oil and food prices coupled with increasing electricity tariffs, says Dr Andrew Golding, CE of the Pam Golding Property group.
“Consumer spend generally remains cautious as a result of ongoing concerns regarding household debt. And amid market speculation regarding an end to the current cycle of lower interest rates, it is hoped that interest rates will remain stable at least for the remainder of this year in order to stimulate further economic growth, bearing in mind that job creation remains a key focus.

“From a residential property perspective Pam Golding Properties continues to see a gradual, albeit modest improvement in sales volumes and in house prices. It should be borne in mind that we are still seeing the effects of the latter part of last year’s (2010) reduction in interest rates permeate through the marketplace, helping sustain residential sales across most price sectors. However, although relaxed to some extent, strict bank lending criteria continue to keep a rein on any significant recovery in the housing market.

“While it’s true that interest rates are at a historical low, first time buyers entering the market still face affordability issues, due to the higher municipal rates and increased electricity costs, among other costs inherent in the purchase and upkeep of a home, and this is exacerbated by restricted access to finance.”

“On a positive note what we are noticing is that those sellers who are receptive to pricing their homes at realistic, market-related prices are reaping the benefits and achieving sales. And for investors who have access to finance or with high liquidity, there are still good buys to be had, as property prices in the main have remained relatively constant over the past year or so. Having said that, there are many areas or locations where properties continue to achieve sound growth in value, and will continue to do so, making the case for investment in property as valid as ever,” concludes Dr Golding.

Issued by Gaye de Villiers

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