Residential building activity shows divergent trends

Levels of building activity in the South African market for new housing showed diverging trends in the first three quarters of 2019.

The planning phase of new housing, as reflected by the number of building plans approved by local government institutions, contracted across all three segments on a year-on-year basis over this period. However, the construction phase of new housing, i.e. the volume of housing units reported as being completed, showed a marked improvement up to September compared with the corresponding period last year.

In view of recent trends in and the outlook for the economy, household finances, general consumer and building sector confidence, as well as property market confidence amongst home owners, residential building activity is not expected to show a significant improvement over the short to medium term and to remain largely in line with that of the past few years.