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Tuesday Dec 11, 2012

Middle segment property values rise 5% on Absa index

Middle segment property values increased by 5 percent year on year last month following a revised 3.3 percent year-on-year rise in October, according to the latest Absa house price index released yesterday.

However, Absa said average house prices in the first 11 months of this year were unchanged compared with the corresponding period last year.

In addition, Absa said although the year-on-year growth in the average value of homes in the middle segment of the housing market increased further last month, month-on-month house price growth continued to be on a downward trend.

This trend commenced at the middle of this year and was expected to affect year-on-year house price growth "in the near future", said Jacques du Toit, a property analyst at Absa Home Loans.

Du Toit said real price deflation was still evident in the middle house segment up to October but the downtrend was being arrested, with the smalland medium-sized categories showing some real year-onyear growth in October. Real house prices are adjusted and deflated to take account of the impact of inflation.

Du Toit added that relatively low nominal house price growth was forecast for the next 12 months and with headline consumer inflation projected to average around 5.5 percent next year, some real house price deflation might still occur for most of next year.

FNB reported last week that while the housing market, along with house price growth, did experience some improvement in strength earlier this year, the pace of improvement appeared to have been tapering off and was reflected in the slower growth in house prices.

Its house price index slowed further last month with yearon-year house price growth dropping to 0.5 percent.

John Loos, a household and property sector strategist at FNB Asset Finance, said this was the eighth consecutive month of tapering growth since the relatively impressive 8.4 percent peak in year-on-year growth reached in March this year.

FNB said the average value of home transactions on its index was R819 733 last month.

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