Light on the horizon
APKF MD says residential market has “turned”

Lanice Steward, MD of Anne Porter Knight Frank, has joined one or two other high profile spokesmen for the residential property sector in saying that, as she sees it, the market appears to have bottomed out and is already showing signs of an improvement.

“While this is not the general perception,” said Steward, “the signs in my view are very definitely there.”

One of the most important of these signs, she said, is the severe shortage of stock in the market in certain areas – and this, she predicts, will lead to demand exceeding supply, which will push up the prices.

Credit restrictions, said Steward, although still onerous, have now been factored in and are “workable”.

“We know of instances where banks have given 100% loans on good security and we hear that, having learned to work with the National Credit Act, they have been able to accommodate more bond applicants than previously. Lending money is, after all, how they generate their income and they were therefore bound to find new ways of doing this in our sector.”

Economic factors, said Steward, also point to the market now starting to revive.

“There is suddenly a general expectation that the oil price will come down within the next quarter and that the expected interest rate increases in August and October will now not take place because, if Investec’s figures on inflation are correct, as most experts think they are, no further counter-inflation measures will be needed for in the foreseeable future.”

Steward said that she expects the recovery to be slow and to take half a year or more. Sellers, she said, should not start asking for the high prices of yesteryear but should be realistic and realise that, whichever way the market moves, it can be to their benefit whether they are selling or buying.

“On a rising market they will obtain more for the homes that they are selling but will have to pay more for those that they buy. Conversely in the falling market, in both cases, the sums involved will be less.”

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