Real Estate News - Welcome to the after party!

Absa's senior treasury economist, Chri Hart, told delegates at a seminar this week that the US growth would slow and that the dollar would weaken. This will reduce the demand and price pressure on oil prices enforcing high economic growth coupled with low inflation and will continue supporting the property boom for at least the next five years.

"This is good news for South Africa as it will help keep inflation down and allow further easing of interest rates," he said.

Hart was upbeat about the state of the economy and prospects for investors. "There are many factors which indicate investment conditions in South Africa are the best they have been for decades. In fact, the SA economy is on the verge of an investment flood," he said.

"We are about to enter a phase of sustained high-growth with low inflation. Structural growth is now possible and the recent Barclays/Absa deal will encourage other global entities to look at concluding similar deals. This will result in additional huge investment in the financial sector.

"The country will also see significant growth in terms of infrastructure expansion, including a second fixed-line telephone network and the preparations required to stage the Soccer World Cup in 2010."

"The property party is over, but the good news is 'welcome to the after-party!'

"The ratio of house prices to remuneration is now at its worst level since 1985 but lower interest rates have eased pressure on the repayment burden," he said.

"And housing affordability remains well below the worst levels reached in the 1980 boom."

But Hart did urge investors to exercise caution and do their homework before rushing in to invest in real estate, noting that property prices were expected to grow at a much slower rate.