house price momentum still gaining

By Staff Writer

The average house price in 2010 was just over 6% higher than the previous year, according to the December FNB House Price Index released on Monday.

"The average price level was estimated to be 6.7% higher than the 2009 average price level, which translates into a real price average that was 2.3% higher in 2010 than in 2009, when taking the first 11 months of 2010 into account," said John Loos, FNB Home Loans strategist.

For December, the year-on-year rate of increase in the FNB House Price Index was 3.6%, which was unchanged from November's revised rate.

In real terms, that is adjusting for the November consumer price inflation rate, this means that November saw 0% real change.

Loos said 2010 was a "tale of 2 halves" as the first half of the year showed an acceleration in average price growth in response to the successive interest rate cuts in 2008 and 2009.

In the second half of 2010, growth slowed as the SA Reserve Bank left interest rates more or less unchanged from late 2009.

"And then, right at the end of 2010, there were hints at some stabilisation in nominal price growth, albeit at a very low rate of price increase," Loos said.

"It is too early to say whether the stabilisation in the rate of price increase is any sign of a turnaround in the price trend, and at this stage we think probably not."

Loos said the interest rate cuts in September and November might have given the market "a slight bit of impetus" and seasonal factors might have played a role.

Loos warned that 2011 would "probably be another year of hard work for the residential property-related industries".

"FNB's valuers, as a group, certainly appear to believe that the situation of weak demand relative to supply continues."

  

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