The total number of mortgage bonds registered at the Deeds Office in the fourth quarter of last year increased by 5.4 percent to 42 248 bonds valued at R45.86 billion compared with the previous quarter. Photo: AP

PRETORIA – The total number of mortgage bonds registered at the Deeds Office in the fourth quarter of last year increased by 5.4 percent to 42 248 bonds valued at R45.86 billion compared with the previous quarter.

Adrian Goslett, regional director and chief executive of RE/MAX Southern Africa, said this was exactly the same percentage increase in the number of transfers registered in the third quarter.

“The results of the fourth quarter seem to reflect a hopeful yet reserved property market,” he said.

“Exiting the recession and a lowering of fuel prices were just some of the positive announcements made during the last quarter of 2018. However, these positives were offset by Eskom’s continued struggle to keep the country's lights on and the announcement of raised interest rates in December,” he said.

However, FNB commercial property's finance property sector strategist John Loos said that the SA Reserve Bank's third-quarter new mortgage lending data showed there was a significant deterioration in year-on-year growth in the value of new mortgage loans granted in the third quarter of last year compared to the previous quarter.

Loos said the growth in the value of new mortgage loans granted had moved “strongly into negative territory” in the third quarter.

“This increasingly suggests the mortgage market ended 2018 and started 2019 on a very weak footing."

Loos said the commercial property mortgage sector was more of a drag on the overall mortgage market than the residential sector but the residential sector also turned mildly negative in the third quarter. He said any year-on-year growth in new mortgage lending this year was expected to be mild and constrained by expectations of limited improvement in economic growth.

Goslett added that Lightstone Property recorded that the total number of bonds cancelled during the fourth quarter dropped by 6.8 percent to 48 661 bonds compared to the third quarter. 

He said there were various reasons for people choosing to cancel their bond, including that the bond holder had decided to sell their property. “This drop in the number of bond cancellations could reflect the ‘wait and see’ sentiment which I would attribute to our current market,” he said.

Goslett said the number of both bonded and unbonded property transfers recorded at the Deeds Office increased by 3.1 percent to 62 150 transfers in the fourth quarter compared to the previous quarter.

Of these transfers and excluding estates, farms and land only transfers, a total of 29 143 freehold properties and 15 648 sectional title units were sold countrywide, he said.

Goslett added that properties priced at up to R400 000 accounted for 29.5 percent of total bond registrations in the fourth quarter, 25.6 percent for properties priced between R400 000 and R800 000, 24.9 percent for properties priced between R800 000 and R1.5 million and 5 percent for transactions worth more than R3m.

BUSINESS REPORT