From the outset, property market predictions were cautious and in some cases, largely negative. Political uncertainty raised questions amongst both local and international investors, and interest rate increases placed significant economic strain on households, the impact of which was seen in the overall flat market growth over the course of the year.
While property owners took a knock with interest rates reaching the 10.5% mark towards the end of the first quarter, 2016 was not all doom and gloom for the South African real estate market.
The prime lending rate was, in fact, predicted to hit 11% by year end, but it held firm (for the fourth time) at 10.5% after the latest meeting of the South African Reserve Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee.
The National Credit Act’s promotion of responsible lending successfully curbed the rise in consumer debt, and a finding by the North Gauteng High Court (although still to be affirmed by the Constitutional Court) will see new property owners not being penalised for historical municipal debt on a property.
On a more personal note, despite the tough economic environment, this year has brought positive shifts and exciting growth at Snymans. Not only have two of our regional offices relocated to beautiful new premises (our Fourways office moved to The Pivot at Montecasino and our Cape Town office moved to Sea Point), but we opened a new office in Brooklyn, Pretoria and our professional team grew by nearly 30%.
Looking towards 2017, we are well-prepared for further challenges to come with political volatility and the knock-on effects on the economy. However, despite the bleak economic outlook, we foresee the continued resilience of the property market that has been visible this year. As we strive to continue our firm’s upward trajectory, the Snymans team will remain focussed on our continued delivery of service excellence in areas performing exceptionally well.
As we bid 2016 farewell, we would like to take the chance to thank our clients and friends for a successful year and wish you a safe, peaceful and blessed break. We hope you will return well rested in 2017, ready to embrace whatever the year ahead may hold.