Mortgage advances growth virtually stable since end-2007

Mortgage Advances Growth Virtually Stable Since End-2007

Year-on-year growth of 24,5% was recorded in mortgage advances in January 2008 (24,7% in December), according to data released by the South African Reserve Bank. This brought the total amount of mortgage advances to R864,5 billion in January. On a month-on-month basis, mortgage advances growth was lower at 1,2% in January from 1,8% in December.

The CPIX inflation rate surged to a level of 8,8% in January, which was above market expectations. This was the result of adverse movements in the international price of oil and a weakening in the rand exchange rate in recent times, while CPIX food price inflation remained high at 13,6% in January. The average under-recovery on the petrol price was around 59 cents per litre up to 28 February, implying that the pump price of petrol is set to increase to above R8 per litre next week. In April, an increase in fuel levies of 11 cents per litre, as announced in the Budget on 20 February, will come into affect. In view of these developments, CPIX inflation will remain under upward pressure in the short term. Currently expectations are for CPIX to rise to a level of 9,5% in the
near term, which adds to the risk of another interest rate hike in April when the Reserve Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee meets.

Mortgage advances growth is expected to continue its gradual declining trend of the past number of months, largely driven by the lagged effect of the higher interest rates, and also the impact of the National Credit Act in the second half of last year. Factors such as a slower pace of economic expansion, lower growth in real household disposable income, and a slowing housing market this year are also set to contribute to year-on-year
mortgage advances of around 17% projected by the end of 2008.

Authored By: Jacques Du Toit
Published By: Absa Home Loans