Residential Building Market still tail-trailing …

There can be no misreading the SA residential building cycle where the building plans passed of dwelling square metres has hardly lifted these past 5 years after hitting recessionary rock bottom by late 2008. The new national credit act had come into effect in mid-2007, SA banks had been shocked by revelations overseas and had re-examined their own lending criteria, and regulators were in the process of loading the capital requirements of home loans, thereby changing the relative profitability of residential mortgages to banks. These institutional changes were fudamental breaks with a past stretching back at least a generation. It changed the playing field for residential mortgages, limiting supply and in the process affecting the supply of new housing dwellings.

These changes did not apply to the non-residential building market, where new office, industrial and retail space hit a recessionary low by 2009-2010, moved sideways in a mildly extended trough, but then started a normal-looking cyclical recovery from late 2011-2012, judging by square metre building plans passed. Though surprising, in that non-residential traditionally lags residential building activity cyclically, it has already been established that residential had been subjected to a structural break (potentially still distorting building data for some years to come).

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