Estate agents expect market improvement

30 January 2018

Next month's first FNB Estate Agent Survey for 2018 is expected to see a "slightly better" market picture emerge following "modest" agent expectations last year.

An improved economic growth rate, accompanied by the expectation of stable interest rates, should also be supportive of mildly stronger household sector disposable income growth, says FNB's John Loos.

This, in turn, should provide more support for housing demand.

"Our own FNB house price index may have also begun to show early signs of market strengthening late in 2017.

"When we view it on a monthon-month basis, after adjusting for seasonal factors, we see that after a lull in price growth in mid-2017, there was a late pick-up of sorts in December.

"It is too early to tell as to how sustainable such a month-on-month lift is."

According to Loos, agent expectations were modest last year, and similar to what was reflected in national business confidence and consumer confidence indices.

The agents also clearly felt what he called the national negativity in their day-to-day dealings in the housing market last year.

"We believe, however, that the national mood has changed significantly since the fourth quarter 2017 agent survey, and that come the first quarter 2018 survey - to take place in February - we may see a slightly better market picture emerge.

"We say this because, subsequent to the survey, we had a ruling party conference in December at which there was a change in leadership.

"While it remains to be seen what such a change will mean policy-wise for South Africa, if the strongly positive reaction of the rand to this news is anything to go by, the national mood appears to have improved on the news," he says.

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