The latest FNB Housing index highlights statistics from 2016 show that the first quarter of this year saw price growth tapering off considerably, while transaction growth bottomed out.
Growing at 4 percent on a quarterly basis, price growth seemed to have eased due to seasonal factors, as most transactions recorded were those carried over from 2015.
Volumes declined by 30 percent on a quarterly basis due to slower than usual activity recorded across the whole country. The median house price across the country was recorded at N$800 000, while the average number of transactions during the first three months of the year was 188 transactions per month.
Market research manager at FNB Group Daniel Kavishe said regarding central property prices: “At the end of March prices in central Namibia had increased 3.4 percent quarter-on-quarter, while volumes declined by 13 percent quarter-on-quarter. The median prices for the three main towns are: Windhoek N$1.2 million; Okahandja N$765 000; and Gobabis N$830 000.
“Within Windhoek most transactions were recorded between N$700 000 and N$1.5 million in areas like Rocky Crest, Wanaheda, Finkenstein and Elisenheim. The most expensive house sold during the quarter was worth N$9.6 million in Auasblick, while the cheapest house was worth N$441 000 in Okuryangava.
“In Okahandja, volumes picked up towards the end of March despite most houses being sold under N$1.5 million. There was an increase in the sale of land in the area with land sales currently accounting for 46 percent of sales in the area.”
Regarding coastal property prices the FNB housing index indicates that coastal volumes took a dive by 52 percent in the fourth quarter, as a result of limited transactions in Henties Bay and prices edging higher in Swakopmund.
Median prices across the three towns were N$1 million in Swakopmund, N$872 000 in Walvis Bay and N$1.1 million in Henties Bay. The growth in the region is mainly fuelled by increased economic activity in Swakopmund and Walvis Bay, as businesses continue to extend their operations across the coastal area.
Fortunately for most consumers the rate of growth in the region has slowed considerably since the second quarter of 2015 with the quarterly current growth rate at 4 percent.
“When looking at northern prices, these grew by 10 percent, thus recording the fastest growth rate on a quarterly basis across the whole country,” Kavishe said. “Volumes however declined 41 percent as seasonal factors set in. The housing market is expected to remain robust over the next few years with valuations being seemingly affordable for most of the residents.
“Median prices across Oshakati, Ongwediva and Rundu were recorded as N$544 000, N$712 000 and N$722 000 respectively. A slowdown in growth in prices as new developments come on-stream can be expected in 2016. Ondangwa and Ongwediva, however, will continue to have a robust housing market environment.”
Lastly, most towns in the South continue to record minimal transactions every month. Median prices during the first quarter were down to N$400 000 across the region. Prices in that area have declined by 25 percent since last year. It, however, remains a good region for farm purchases with the price per square metre of land declining to N$239 from N$678 in 2014.
To conclude the FNB Housing Index Kavishe revealed statistics from the latest Knight Frank Global price index, which show price growth rates across the world in 2015.
According to the report, the world’s housing markets recorded three percent growth on average in 2015. The report indicated that housing affordability is, however, in decline making it a policy issue across most countries. The report estimates that Belgium and New Zealand are currently the world’s least affordable markets, whilst home ownership is most accessible in South Korea and Japan.
The outlook for 2016, therefore, remains muted, with the house index overall rate of growth expected to decline as the global economy experiences “a potentially dangerous cocktail of low oil prices, a strong dollar and a continued slowdown in China,” FNB said.