Building plans approved for new housing was down 15.4percent year-on-year (y/y) to 31427 plans in January to July, Statistics SA figures showed.
JOHANNESBURG - Building plans approved for new housing was down 15.4percent year-on-year (y/y) to 31427 plans in January to July, Statistics SA figures showed. 

A decline in plans approved was evident across all three segments of new housing over this period. New housing units reported as completed grew 36.4percent y/y to a total of 28634 units in the first seven months of this year. 

The flat and townhouse segment was the main driver of this growth, showing strong growth of 90.1percent. Alterations and additions to houses remained under pressure. 

The cost of completed alterations and additions increased by 3.3percent to R7407 per square metre in the seven months to July. Building confidence dropped in the third quarter to the lowest level since the third quarter of 1999. 

Absa Home Loans property analyst Jacques du Toit said the divergent trends in the planning and construction phases could be the result of lags in the reporting of completed housing to local government institutions, or in the approval of plans for new housing by local government institutions. He said household finances and business conditions in the building sector were some of the factors that would drive residential building activity. 

BUSINESS REPORT