Diverging trends in residential building activity in early 2018

Diverging trends were evident in building activity with regard to new private sector-financed housing in South Africa in the first five months of 2018. Levels of activity in the planning phase (building plans approved by local government institutions) improved on a year-on-year basis over this period, whereas activity in the construction phase (housing units reported as completed) contracted compared with the same period last year.

Building plans approved for new housing increased by 16,1% year-on-year, or 3 464 plans, to 25 005 plans in January to May this year, with new housing units reported as being completed contracting by 23,3% year-on-year, or 3 946 units, to a total of 13 003 units in the first five months of the year. Building activity with regard to alterations and additions to existing houses showed continued strain, with both the building area approved and the building area reported as completed contracting on a year-on-year basis in January to May.

In view of trends in and prospects for the economy, household finances, consumer confidence and property market sentiment in general, residential building activity is expected to remain under pressure in the rest of the year.

Read more here: Absa Building Stats May 2018