The value of homes in the middle segment of the market saw stable nominal year-on-year growth last month, Absa said on Friday. Average price growth was between 8 percent and 9 percent over the past nine months, property analyst Jacques du Toit said. “Base effects continued to be an important factor driving price growth on a segment basis.” Average house prices grew in real terms across all three categories in the first four months of the year from a year earlier. Du Toit said the housing market would continue to be driven by economic developments, trends in household finances, and consumer confidence. Single-digit nominal house price growth was expected to prevail for the rest of the year, with real house price growth constrained by headline consumer inflation, projected to remain above 6 percent. “Interest rate hikes may dampen the performance of and activity in the residential property market, and demand for mortgage finance,” he said. – Sapa