Property Barometer – Holiday Towns House Price Indices

The FNB Holiday Towns House Price Index, comprising towns (both coastal and inland) whose housing markets are deemed to be strongly driven by holiday home demand, has had a reasonably good run since around 2013.

However, in recent quarters this index has seen its growth starting to lose momentum, from a relative high of 5.8% year-on-year as at the 3rd quarter of 2016 to 5.4% by the 1st quarter of 2017.

5.4% year-on-year price growth is not yet a bad number for these highly cyclical markets, and still quite solid compared to our also-cyclical Mining Towns grouping for example.

Nevertheless, FNB would expect some further slowing in house price growth in holiday towns as a group in the near term, given the constrained nature of Household Sector finances in what remains a very weak economic growth environment.

Longer term relative performance of holiday town markets 

FNB mentioned that holiday town markets have had a reasonably good run since around 2013, after they had taken significantly longer to recover from the 2008/9 recession than did the more primary residence-driven major urban markets.

Whereas national average house price rate of change returned to positive year-on-year growth as early as the 1st quarter of 2010, on the back of major interest rate reduction in 2009, the Holiday Towns House Price Index only came “sustainably” out of deflation in the 3rd quarter of 2012.

This means that, since the 1st quarter of 2010, cumulative house price growth for the holiday towns grouping has totaled 22.56%, significantly under performing our Deeds Data version of the FNB National House Price Index whose cumulative price growth over the same period has been a more significant 51.38%

This under performance by holiday town markets since the 2008/9 recession has much to do with a major affordability challenge that was created by these markets strongly outperforming the national average over the period 2004 to around 2007 in terms of house price growth.

That out performance by holiday towns was reflective of the national property “bubble” at the time, with such periods often being characterized by “over-exuberance” and very strong levels of non-essential home buying such as holiday property and buy-to-let buying.

It was thus largely to be expected that, after prior out performance by holiday towns of the national average, the post-recession period from 2010 to 2017 would be characterized by holiday town under performance of the national average, as the market got rid of the additional “froth” in the prices that was created by that pre-2008 price boom.

The longer term net result is that, taking 2001 as a starting point for both indices, the Holiday Towns House Price Index and the National House Price Index had, by the 1st quarter of 2017, more-or-less converged, after a lengthy earlier period in which the Holiday Town Index was at a far higher level than the National Index.

So, while the cumulative house price inflation for the country as a whole is measured at 432% (using the FNB Deeds data driven House Price Index) over the past 16 years since early 2001, the FNB Holiday Towns House Price Index has inflated by a very similar 440% over the same period.

In short, after a relatively good period from 2013, recent quarters have shown some slowing in year-on-year growth in the FNB Holiday Towns House Price Index. These holiday town markets’ price levels are all but free of that “additional froth” (compared to the overall national housing market) that they possessed following an out performance from 2004 to 2007, due to having lagged the national market considerably in their post-2008/9 recession recovery.

By all of this we mean that the cumulative growth in the FNB Holiday Towns House Price Index since pre-boom levels of early-2001 is almost the same as that of the National House Price Index over the same period, following a period in between where the Holiday Town House Price Index “temporarily” outperformed the National Index by a considerable margin.

Read more here: FNB Property Barometer Holiday Town HPI May 2017