In the residential property market, as in so many other spheres, says Tony Clarke, Managing Director of the Rawson Property Group, it is always difficult to please everyone.
“The current year-on-year growth figures in South African housing have been set at around 8% (some estimates go as high as 9,7%). This is not unsatisfactory and by First World standards is exceptionally good. Nevertheless, we still get some commentators saying that they are shunning the residential property market on account of its low growth figures.”
Clarke reminded such commentators that in April 2008 he had issued a statement that the growth rate, which was then negative in real terms, had to be seen against a backdrop of some six years in which the annual growth rate had been in the region of 16%.
“The point I was trying to make then and which I am trying to emphasize once again,” he said, “is that property has to be seen as a long term investment in which the highs and lows, in my experience, just about always compensate for each other. Too long a boom results in property pricing itself out of the market – there simply has to be adjustments.”
Right now, said Clarke, most commentators are predicting a steady improvement in the property market, which will probably result in growth rates being held at least at the current levels for the foreseeable future.
“One fact remains crystal clear,” he said, “and that is, although sales across the board are being held up by a lack of disposable income and although a high percentage of potential buyers do not qualify for bonds because of impaired credit records, demand in the lower, lower middle and even in the higher brackets is exceptionally strong and will have a push-up effect on the entire market. Even in the luxury home brackets we are now beginning to see a year-on-year growth of 8 to 9%”
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