First "Green Shoots" of an upturn in Cape residential property now evident, says Greeff

Cape real estate agents, says Mike Greeff, CEO of Greeff Properties, have been so criticised for voicing positive forward-looking views on the residential property market that he is reluctant to “stick his head above the parapet” on this subject – but he said, it has to be reported that there are now signs that the sorely needed recovery is on the way.

Greeff bases his optimism on the fact that his company’s March and April sales figures were 38% and 53% up on those of the same months in 2008.

“Looking back,” said Greeff, “it is now clear that the crunch began to impact on us from February last year and that, with some fluctuations it continued until the start of March this year. We could now be looking at a sector which has actually at last bottomed out.”

Analysing the factors behind the new optimism, said Greeff, it is obvious that the much talked about dread of a Zuma-led government has ebbed away, that inflation rises are now more controlled and that the latest drop in the interest rate have given rise to a more hopeful outlook.

“These positive indicators,” said Greeff, “are, of course, offset by the as yet unresolved questions relating to the US credit card and bond market bubbles. The impact of these is not easy to assess. It also does not help that we are now in a recession and that the banks are currently approving only 50 to 60% of bond applications. We do understand the banks’ desire to work mainly with quality, long-term clients and to reduce commission payments to originators but, like others, we feel the recovery is now in their hands.”

Greeff added that although his company’s figures relate primarily to the southern suburbs of the Cape Peninsula, agencies in other areas have told him they, too, have seen a pick up since the beginning of March.

“Our experience is not unique,” said Greeff, “although it is possible that we are slightly in front, due to the many upper income clients who deal with us regularly. Cees Bruggermans, FNB economist, believes that the latest manufacturing and electricity output data indicate that we have turned the corner and that the economy will start growing slowly towards the year end.”

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