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Gauteng’s rental market recovery imminent, Cape woes only starting

Greenstone Crest in the east of Johannesburg.

According to the PayProp Index forecast towards the end of last year, rental housing recovery might be on the horizon in 2019 for certain provinces, based on the review of data as far back as 2012.

“The data indicates that rental growth rates show cyclical growth trends lasting anywhere from 6 to 11 quarters,” said PayProp head of data and analytics, Johette Smuts. “In Gauteng, the most recent cycles have been 7 quarters and 6 quarters long, indicating an impending upturn.”

Sadly, the same cannot be said for all provinces, especially for the Western Cape.

“If other provincial cycles are anything to go by, the Western Cape is at the start of a declining cycle, and it’s likely that there will be at least two more declining quarters before we can expect an upturn,” said Smuts, noting that in the Western Cape, the 5.2% year-on-year growth recorded in Q3 is the province’s lowest since the first PayProp Rental Index in 2012, almost half of the 10.3% recorded in the province just 12 months earlier.

PayProp CEO, Louw Liebenberg said that knee-jerk reactions like lower commission to adjust rental downwards offer very little relief for tenants and landlords, and resulted in a massive income loss to rental agencies.

“Offering tenants the opportunity to part-pay deposits over time is a strategy that could be considered, with the disclaimer that the agency will undertake a careful credit vetting process with the tenant,” said Liebenberg. “Carefully plotting out the relative risks and rewards for the tenant, agency and property owner is a prerequisite to any change in course. There are various in-market strategies that we’ve seen offering the greatest rewards for agencies, namely:

  1. Careful management of the renewal of tenants in existing tenancies against changing risk profiles,
  2. Spreading the cost of administration, and
  3. Continued and unwavering arrears management.”

Liebenberg said that his recommendation is to not lower standards when it comes to tenant selection, arrears management or commission percentages.

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This is Johannesburg’s current rental picture

“The downturn is historically temporary in nature – and we expect to see the first ‘green-shoots’ of recovery towards the second quarter of 2019.”


David A Steynberg, managing editor and director of HomeTimes, has more than 10 years of experience as both a journalist and editor, having headed up Business Day’s HomeFront supplement, SAPOA’s range of four printed titles, digimags Asset in Africa and the South African Planning Institute’s official title, Planning Africa, as well as B2B titles, Building Africa and Water, Sewage & Effluent magazines. He began his career at Farmer’s Weekly magazine before moving on to People Magazine where he was awarded two Excellence Awards for Best Real Life feature as well as Writer of the Year runner-up. He is also a past fellow of the International Women’s Media Foundation.

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