House price growth strong in January

Residential property prices rose 6.7% in January, compared with corresponding period last year, according to bond originator, ooba.

This growth is the highest annualised price increase since July 2010, when a year-on-year (y/y) price appreciation of 9.8% was recorded.

The January oobarometer price index reveals that the average house price rose to R850,589 from R797,011 a year earlier. The average purchase price among the first time buyers continues to show a significant y/y increase of 12.8% to R650,574, from R576,675 a year ago.

Chief executive Saul Geffen said the increased activity in the first time buyers' market was reflected in the consistent price growth recorded each month since May 2011. He said 50.92% of applications received in January comprised of first time buyers, up from 48.18% recorded previously.

Geffen said ooba's home loan application volumes were 41% higher in January in comparison with the same period last year, with the value of home loan approvals showing a y/y increase of 58%.

"ooba recorded consistent month-on-month increases in home loan applications in 2011 and we expect this growth to continue throughout 2012. The increase is attributable to a combination of market, organic and acquisitive growth."

Other indicators measured by ooba reveal that the average approved home loan size is showing a y/y increase of 6.3% in January to R722,900, up from R680 195 a year earlier.

The average deposit as a percentage of purchase price increased by 2.7% to R127 689 in the period under review compared with the previous corresponding period, equivalent to an average deposit of 15.0% of the purchase price.

The initial bank decline ratio has increased by 4.3% y/y to 50.3% and the effective approval ratio is showing a y/y decrease of 5.6% to 60%.

Geffen said the drop in the approval ratio was primarily as a result of the tightening of credit by one of the banks, and a higher proportion of lower deposit loans as a result of the relaxation in criteria by another bank. Lower deposit loan applications typically have higher decline rates as they are considered more risky.

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