Real Estate news – Housing market still stable (Namibia)

NAMIBIAN estate agents and commercial banks are almost unanimous that the country’s housing market still enjoys relative stability, in spite of the global financial crisis and instability in neighbouring property markets.

While the global housing markets have been doing quite badly following the emergence of the unforeseen financial crisis in leading international financial markets, the local market here can hardly say the same.

In neighbouring South Africa, reports suggest that the township housing market in the country is down, and bringing the fortunes of many emerging estate agencies, mortgage originators and developers down with it.

Following the eruption of the global financial crisis last year, the Namibian property market recorded slight declines in various spheres of business, but the general trend is still positive.

Among the consequences was a decline in the new property applications. The home-loan sections of both First National Bank and Bank Windhoek have confirmed this.

However, according to Bank Windhoek it did not suffer any increases in default payments.

“We did not observe a drop in property prices,” said Riaan van Rooyen, Head of Corporate Communication and Social Investment at Bank Windhoek.

Market players have squarely blamed the slump to a number of factors. Among them, higher interest rates, while the rising cost of living has played a central role in slowing housing sales.

Basic commodities such as food and fuel cracked a whip over local consumers last year until Government intervened to scrap value added tax on some basic foodstuffs to remedy the situation.

Other factors included the financial burden on potential property purchasers and high property prices.

“As far as developers are concerned, the high development costs have to be recovered in the selling prices,” Van Rooyen observed.

Local real estates echoed the banks’ sentiments on the relative stability of the property market. An office manager at Seeff Properties in Windhoek told Informanté this week that that no radical impact on the market had become apparent.

“I think this can be attributed to the fact that the local economy is relatively stable, and the demand for houses is really high,” the manager, who asked to remain anonymous, explained.

The Director of Marketing at Joseph & Snyman estate agency, Jerome Joseph said the country’s property market ‘looks optimistic’. He based his optimism on stable fuel prices and high property demand.

“Namibia was not much affected by the credit crunch and we believe the market will fully recover at least by June or July this year,” he said.

Article by: Toivo Ndjebela - www.informante.web.na