Finance minister Tito Mboweni is expected to have to make some tough calls to raise revenue and cut public sector expenditure when he delivers his Budget Speech on 26 February.
However, prospects for the real estate sector in 2020 are currently positive, said Tony Clarke, managing director of the Rawson Property Group. “Housing demand has definitely increased over the past year, especially at the lower end of the market, and we expect that trend to continue this year for several reasons.
“The first is that inflation has declined significantly and reduced some of the financial stress on consumers. Very slow house price growth over the past four years and low rental increases have contributed to this situation,” said Clarke.
“The rand has also proved to be quite resilient in recent months as investors once again favoured emerging markets, and if international oil prices now decline as expected, we expect to see inflation hold at below the midpoint of the Reserve Bank’s target range for most of 2020.”
Secondly, he said, the 0.25 percentage point decline in the repo and prime interest rates during January has reduced the monthly instalments on all sorts of debt from car repayments to credit-card balances, and increased the ability of many consumers to afford home loan repayments and thus to qualify for home loans.
“And at least one additional rate cut is on the cards this year, which should give the economy and the property market even more impetus.”
Rawson finance national admin hub manager, Leonard Kondowe, said that the third reason for optimism is the keen competition among the banks to grant new home loans, especially to clients with sturdy credit records.
“At the moment, borrowers who have been prudent over the past few years are definitely the winners as the banks offer them loans with lower deposit requirements at the best interest rates we have seen in years.