Last week’s NERSA decided to allow a further above-inflation tariff hike.

We believe that the 0.8% economic growth rate for 2018 as a whole was likely “property negative”, sustaining negative real growth in property values and total returns in single digits.

“South Africa’s residential market is in for an interesting time in 2019, but our predictions for the year are all positive, and we believe that home buyers and investors who take the plunge and buy early will be well-rewarded.”

The Firstrand economic team expects a 25 basis point interest rate hike this week when the SARB (South African Reserve Bank) MPC (Monetary Policy Committee) meets to deliberate on interest rates.

Retail sales growth remains solid in real terms, having averaged 3.3% for the 1st 5 months of 2016, similar to the average growth for 2015 as a whole.

The FNB Estate Agent Survey has begun to record a mild weakening in agent perceptions of home maintenance and upgrades, following a broad improving trend through 2013 to late-2015.

2015 has seen some positive growth, but Residential Building and Fixed Investment remains low.

South Africa's unemployment rate decreased from 25.4% in the third quarter to 24.3% in the fourth quarter, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA).

The festive season is the most important trading period for South African retailers and shopping centres but, with the consumer crunch, the season is only likely to deliver nominal sales growth.

It should not come as too much of a surprise that growth in residential property transactions broadly slowed as 2011 progressed, as did growth in residential mortgages registered.

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