Between October and December 2018, a total of 42,248 bond registrations were recorded at the deeds offices, totalling an amount of R45,860,040,000. This translates into a 5.4% increase in the amount of bonds registered in the previous quarter – the exact same percentage by which the number of transfers increased in the third quarter.
Lightstone Property also recorded a total of 48,661 bonds cancelled during the fourth quarter – 6.8% fewer than were cancelled in the third quarter.
“There are various reasons why people choose to cancel their bond, one of which being that the bond holder has decided to sell their property. This drop in the number of recorded bond cancellations could reflect the ‘wait and see’ sentiment which I would attribute to our current market,” said regional director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, Adrian Goslett.
The number of transfers (both bonded and unbonded) recorded at the deeds office between October and December increased by 3.1% from the third quarter to 62,150 transfers in the fourth quarter. Of these transfers, a total of 29,143 freehold properties and 15,648 sectional title units were sold countrywide (*these figures exclude estates, farms, and land only transfers).
“While these figures translate into a 3.6% drop in the number of freehold properties sold in the third quarter, they also translate into a substantial 8.1% increase in the number of sectional title units sold. This reveals a considerable shift in the market away from freehold titles and towards sectional title living,” Goslett said.
Market shifting away from entry-level buyers
In the fourth quarter of 2018, 29.5% of transfers fell within the R0 – R400,000 price range, positioning it with 1.8% less share of the market than it held in the third quarter. Steadily catching up to this segment, 25.6% of bonds were priced between R400,000 and R800,000, increasing its market share by 1.4% in the fourth quarter. At 0.6% higher than last quarter’s market share, 24.9% of transfers were priced between R800,000 and R1,5m. Remaining steady from last quarter’s market share, 15% of transfers were between R1,5m to R3m; and, transactions over R3m dropped by 0.2% to account for 5% of all bond registrations for the fourth quarter.
“The figures from the fourth quarter continue to reflect the reality revealed in the third quarter of a market that is shifting beyond the reach of entry-level buyers and in favour of the middle-income buyer,” Goslett said.
House price growth slows
House prices continue to reflect minor growth in the fourth quarter. Lightstone revealed that the current national median price of a freehold home now sits at R1,070,225, which translates into a 2.15% growth since the third quarter (slightly lower than the 4.3% growth we experienced in Q3). Likewise, the national median price of a sectional title grew by 0.13% (down from 0.9% growth in the third quarter) since last quarter to R1,021,645.