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JOHANNESBURG – South Africa’s biggest bond originator, shows that the majority of current homebuyers (52%) are repeat buyers who are giving real estate a vote of confidence by re-investing the proceeds of their own sales.

The property market is showing remarkable resilience and to underline this, according to the latest statistics from BetterBond.

Chief Executive Officer Shaun Rademeyer, notes that the company’s application approval ratio has also risen over the past 12 months from 73% to almost 78%, which indicates a rising percentage of serious buyers with their finances and credit records in good order and sizeable deposits.

In addition, the BetterBond statistics* show a 4% year-on-year increase in the household income of the average repeat buyer at end-September to R56 000, and a 5% year-on-year increase in the household income of the average first-time buyer to R37 000.

This accords with the BankservAfrica Salaries Index, which shows that real (after inflation) salaries in SA increased by 1,1% in August – which was the sixth consecutive month of growth.

The underlying strength in the market is further evidenced, Rademeyer says, by the fact that the percentage of loans formally granted has risen over the past year from 59,2% to 61,4% of applications, with both repeat and first-time buyers displaying an increased determination to proceed with their purchases in spite of SA’s current socio-economic problems.

“However, while the average approved bond size showed a year-on-year increase of 5,2% at end-September to R886 000, the average home price paid increased by just 2,8% to R1,1m. Similarly in the first-time buyer sector, the average approved bond size increased by 4,7% to R680 000, while the average home price paid increased by only 3,9%.

“This suggests that there is still strong downward pressure on prices, and that is confirmed by an analysis of the number of home loans being granted in each price category.”

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The statistics show that in the past 12 months, the number of loans granted for more than R1,5m increased by just one percentage point to 21,4%, while the majority of loans continued to be granted in the R500 000 to R1m purchase price range (39,5%) and the R1m to R1,5m range (17,5%).

“In addition, the banks continue to apply very strict criteria when it comes to granting new credit and to evaluating properties for home loan purposes, and consumers who apply for home loans without the assistance of originators are struggling to obtain approvals even when they are in good financial shape.

“Our high approval ratio is due in large measure to the knowledge and experience of our home loan consultants and their ability to motivate individual applications to the correct lenders. This more than doubles the chance of prospective home buyers having their loan applications approved.”