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Residential building statistics
South Africa - Absa
Residential building activity in the planning phase improved, with the construction phase contracting in the first four months of 2018
Based on data published by Statistics South Africa in respect of building activity related to new private sector-financed housing (see explanatory note), the first four months of 2018 showed levels of activity in the planning phase (the number of building plans approved by local government institutions) growing on a year-on-year basis, with the construction phase (the number of housing units reported as completed) contracting compared with a year ago.

The number of building plans approved for new housing increased by 18,8% year-on-year (y/y), or 3 079 plans, to 19 423 plans in the period January to April this year, with this growth mainly driven by the segments for houses smaller than 80m² and flats and townhouses, which showed combined growth of more than 25% y/y in the 4-month period.
Building stats Apr 2018

Industry First As Search Acumen Launches Real-Time Planning Data For Property Lawyers And Their Clients
UK - Today's Conveyancer
Search Acumen, the property data insight and technology provider, has upgraded its Commercial Real Estate platform – ForeSite, to provide the legal sector with real-time access to planning applications data for the first time.

The enhancement means solicitors and commercial property lawyers can now view live planning data as part of the due diligence process. This unprecedented insight acts as an early warning system to notify clients of potential risks before they commit to purchasing a property. It allows the lawyer to identify and act upon current and historic applications that might otherwise affect a client’s property, either while the transaction is in progress or in future once the purchase is complete.

Search Acumen’s ForeSite platform now displays all planning applications available via Local Authorities websites, including approved, pending, denied and withdrawn applications.
Today's Conveyancer

Properties stay on market for longer
South Africa - IolProperty
The average time that homes remain on the market before being sold has increased significantly, pointing to a renewed weakness in the housing market in terms of demand relative to supply.

The latest FNB estate agent survey revealed that the average time a home remained on the market before being sold increased to 16 weeks and four days in the second quarter this year from 14 weeks and one day in the previous quarter.

In addition, the percentage of sellers who were required to drop their asking price to make the sale increased to 96 percent in the second quarter from 91 percent in the previous quarter.

FNB said the estimated magnitude in the reduction in asking price also pointed towards a weaker market, with the average drop in asking price increasing to 9.2 percent in the second quarter from 8.2 percent in the first quarter.

It's not all doom and gloom for SA's property market
South Africa - Rawson
As South Africans reel from the news of a 2.2% GDP decline in the first quarter of 2018, property experts remain optimistic about forecasts for the remainder of the year. The property market, which has been experiencing some lethargy since early 2017, is not predicted to see any dramatic repercussions as a result of the recent economic bombshell.

Tony Clarke, MD of the Rawson Property Group, explains.

“Property market demand isn’t driven purely by investors – it’s driven by people needing a roof over their heads,” he says. “That need doesn’t disappear just because our economy hits a speed bump, and the resultantly reliable demand makes property a much more resilient asset class during otherwise unstable or volatile economic times.”

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