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Tuesday Jul 10, 2012

'Houses on the market for longer'

The average time a house is on the market has risen from 15 to 17 weeks, the second quarter of the 2012 FNB Estate Agent Survey revealed on Monday.

Eighty-seven percent of properties were being sold at less than asking price. This was a slight improvement from the previous two quarters' 90 and 88 percent respectively, FNB household sector and property strategist at FNB, John Loos, said.

The survey is conducted among a sample of estate agents predominantly in South Africa's major metro regions.

The balance between demand and supply in the residential market deteriorated due to slowing demand and availability of stock for sale.

The survey showed that the average percentage by which buyers wanted a property's price to drop decreased from 13 percent to 10 percent in the second quarter of 2012.

One of the reasons for this decline could be the increase in the confidence of sellers.

"And this may in turn be causing the slightly longer average time on the market."

There was however still a high percentage of sellers who ultimately had to drop their asking price, pointing to a widespread lack of pricing realism.

Another factor was a decline in the percentage of first-time buyers from 25 percent in the first quarter to 20 percent in the second quarter of 2012. This, Loos added, was due to significant financial pressure on households.

Also, 20 percent of sellers were downscaling due to financial pressure. The percentage of sellers wanting to upgrade declined from 17 to 15 percent.

Loos said the survey showed an overall impression of a "mild weakening in the market".

He said estate agents were still noting high financial pressure on consumers, which was a concern given that interest rates were low.


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