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House prices contract by 8.8% in March

House prices contract by 8.8% in March

House prices contracted for a third straight month in March by 8.8%, the sixth contraction in the last seven months, Josephat Nambashu, Analyst at FNB Namibia announced in the latest edition of the FNB Housing Index

According to Nambashu, the decline meant the price of the average home was cut by N$109,941 from what it was this time last year to N$1,136,030.

When disaggregated, property prices in the middle price segment stagnated, while property prices in the upper price segment contracted by 3.0% y/y. Conversely, property prices in the lower price segment increased modestly by 3.4% y/y.

Additionally, year to date data shows property prices across 14 towns, including the capital Windhoek, contracted. Volumes however increased 11.7%, driven primarily by the new affordable housing supply and improved land delivery.

Both the middle and upper price segment recorded volume increases as well, albeit minimal. However, transactions in the luxury housing segment have dried up, with only one transaction registered in the past four months.

“Given the likelihood of more affordable housing stock entering the market and the delayed reaction to the economic downturn, we expect property prices to retreat even further and remain under pressure for longer allowing the market to correct after decades of exuberant house price inflation. Sellers seem to remain denial on pricing shifts, as 91% of homes sold in the period, sold for below asking price, which points to overly optimistic prices in an ultra-cautious buyers’ market,” Nambashu explained.

Meanwhile, Windhoek property prices fell for the second time in twelve months, whilst Okahandja prices contracted by as much as 13.7% y/y.

Moreover, coastal property prices fell for the ninth month in a row- this time by 38.0% y/y – as changes in the housing mix came into play. In contrast, the northern property price inflation is picking up after months of negative price growth. Property prices in this region increased by 12.3% y/y, their highest in almost two years.

“House price growth has diminished, and the recent developments suggest that we are set to face price correction as affordable property supply increases at a time where subdued economic activity persists and labour uncertainty is high,” Nambashu said.

Current forecast points towards price contractions of 5.8% for 2018 as a whole, easing to 1.2% in 2019.

About The Author

Donald Matthys

Donald Matthys has been part of the media fraternity since 2015. He has been working at the Namibia Economist for the past three years mainly covering business, tourism and agriculture. Donald occasionally refers to himself as a theatre maker and has staged two theatre plays so far. Follow him on twitter at @zuleitmatthys