The wait is finally over. Cyril Ramaphosa has been elected as the new president of South Africa, bringing to an end a disastrous 10 year period for the South African consumer.
If President Ramaphosa’s actions since his election as president of the ruling African National Congress is anything to go by, we should see a swift change of guard at the cabinet level as well as in the top structures of various delinquent state-owned enterprises (SOEs). Stabilising our key national institutions, including the Ministry of Finance, and working to bring to justice the perpetrators of corruption will have an immediate impact on the mood of the country – not to mention the views of international investors. After President Ramaphosa’s acclaimed performance at the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) meetings in Davos in January, foreigner’s have been buying South African stocks at the fastest rate on record – a great vote of confidence with their most precious asset: their funds!
At the heart of it, South Africa’s residential property industry is driven by consumer confidence – something which we have been in very short supply of since 2007. Affordability, interest rates, and overall market sentiment directly affect whether South Africans are willing to invest their free cash in (for most) the most expensive asset which they will ever buy. Over the last 3 years, we have been operating in a low house price growth environment, driven by the large number of available properties on the market and few qualifying buyers out there (this is called a buyer’s market). However, based on what we’ve seen since the start of the year, things are definitely changing. In a short space of time confidence has rebounded, which combined with a low interest rate environment creates a wonderful opportunity for buyers to access properties before the expected house price growth is actually observed. Learning from Warren Buffet, now is the time to buy – we’re at the bottom of the market and there’s no other way than up.
At Leadhome we are hugely optimistic about what President Ramaphosa’s election means – not just for the South African property industry, but our country as a whole.
It feels good to be proud again.