select
|

Why a recovering US property market bodes well for SA

The United States has long held sway over the global economy and as such its welfare has had far reaching implications for the rest of the world.

Cue the sub-prime mortgage crisis in 2007 which effectively crashed the US housing market, and of which the effects are still very much in evidence, particularly in America and parts of Europe.

“Due to the US’s incredible economic power we’ve often noticed that the local property market tends to lag between three to six months behind the American market”, says Bruce Swain, MD of Leapfrog Property Group. As such local estate agents and buyers are inclined to keep an eye on developments in the US. “Of course South Africa is a different kettle of fish and one would be foolish to assume all movements in the US market will be mirrored in ours but, it does often give one an indication of what could be headed our way”, says Swain.

Even earlier in 2012 many still doubted as to when the US real estate market would begin recovering. Now it would seem that revival is in sight; JP Morgan & Co and Wells Fargo & Co, the principal home lenders in the States report double-digit quarterly earnings growth last week. According to Sterne Agee, a banking analyst from Todd Hargeman as reported in the LA Times, both companies “clearly expressed a view of signs of recovery, if not stabilization”.

The “Improving Markets Index” as compiled by the National Association of Home Builders and First American Title Insurance indicates that a 103 housing markets across the US now qualify to be listed, up from 76 in January 2012. Barry Rutenberg, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), believes that; ““This is an encouraging sign that the housing recovery is proceeding at a steady pace as firming prices and employment help spur new building activity, which in turn generates new jobs and more home sales.”

Whilst improving markets are still a far cry from stable or even better, growing markets, it is the first sign that the American housing market is recovering. Broadly speaking any recovery in the States is bound to filter through to the rest of the world, which should eventually lead to rallying of exports from SA to Europe and other economic corrections. These corrections will hopefully lead to more job creation, increased earnings and ultimately, the amelioration of the local property market.
That being said, there are local factors that have a greater, and more immediate, effect on the SA industry such as the recent wild cat strikes and the tragedy that took place at Marikana, the staggering level of unemployment and the downgrading of our sovereign debt. These circumstances shake investor confidence, decreases international funding, threaten our exports and ultimately culminate in an impoverished economy.

Factors that contribute more directly to the property market include the lack of household savings, the high level of household debt-to-disposable income ratio, the increase of municipal rates and the difficulty of obtaining a home loan.

Bruce Swain believes that the South African Reserve Bank has done what it can to aid the property market by keeping the repo rate at a low 5%. According to John Loos, Household Sector and Property Strategist at FNB, the greatest problem the market now faces is the lack of household savings. At present the household debt-to-disposable income ratio stands at 76.3% (an increase over the first two quarters of 2012). Loos states that: “This savings shortage is a serious structural issue not only constraining the housing market but also many people’s ability to retire financially sound.”

Combined with the fact that banks’ lending criteria are now considerably more stringent than four or five years ago the reality is that many potential buyers cannot amass the deposit needed to secure a loan.

Of course saving isn’t the only problem. Municipal rates and tariffs have increased: Loos points out that where the average house price/average remuneration ratio fell by -24.4% since 2008, the rates and tariffs/remuneration has increased by 6.54%. Savings are less and properties are costing more to maintain – hardly a recipe for a sound property market.

That being said, the local property market is still stable, if sluggish, and there are slight indications that it’s picking up. Yes, South Africans need to start saving there’s no doubt but, our market didn’t take the hit many of its international siblings did and with the stable repo rate and banks easing their lending criteria somewhat there is hope. Sellers are still placing their homes in the market and the buyers are there. “Remember, regardless of the current global and national economic situation, property is a long term game and the industry will correct itself in time. Patience is key during this period”, advises Swain.


  Comment on this Article

  Please login to post comments

Post to my facebook wall
  
2000
Characters remaining


    Latest Property News
    • 20 Nov 2017
      Since 2012, sectional title complexes have been leading the South African property market, not only in terms of price growth, but sales volumes as well. Remaining relatively strong, even in the face of 2017’s political and economic turmoil, experts say this market segment could offer valuable insight into South Africans’ property purchase priorities.
    • 20 Nov 2017
      Regardless of whether you are purchasing your first start-up home, downsizing or moving in with roommates, finding ways to maximise small spaces can be a big advantage, says Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.
    • 20 Nov 2017
      Property valued at approximately R1 billion is on High Street Auctions’ sales floor during the month of November, including the much-anticipated sale of the Tshwane Mayoral Residence and the land occupied by one of South Africa’s oldest operating gold mines.
    • 17 Nov 2017
      FWJK has announced the launch of its latest residential brand, the Lil’ Apple, which will be launched simultaneously in two developments in Cape Town and Umhlanga totaling 600 apartments. The Lil’ Apple is set to be a brand of FWJK’s New York style apartments which will be rolled out nationally.
    • 17 Nov 2017
      It’s been a tumultuous year on many fronts, with socio-political uncertainty setting the tone for much of South Africa’s economic activity yet despite this and seemingly counter-intuitively, the residential property market has held up well.
    • 17 Nov 2017
      The EAAB (the Estate Agency Affairs Board) recently claimed that around 50,000 illegal estate agents could currently be operating illegally.
    • 16 Nov 2017
      Penthouses are synonymous with New York – characterised by high-rise living that is decidedly luxurious and spacious. While exclusivity comes at a price, you can still create a “penthouse” look and feel in your existing apartment or even the upstairs bedroom of a double storey house with some clever design changes and styling touches.
    • 16 Nov 2017
      The area has long been popular with kite surfers and, with escalating property prices in Cape Town itself, is increasingly in demand with home owners who work in town, but are looking to invest in more affordable properties.
        
    X
    Subscribe to the MyProperty Newsletter

    Name  
    Last Name  
    Email Address  
    Email Frequency
    select
    X
    Share this Page

       
    For Sale Property
    Rental Property
    More Options
    About
    Connect with us
    FEEDBACK