The quarterly PayProp Rental Index for Q3 2018 indicates that South African rental growth continues to slow, reaching a level of only 3.25% for the quarter. The data also shows that 37.2% of all rental tenants are classified as high-risk, which PayProp Head of Data and Analytics, Johette Smuts, says is to be expected considering the significant pressure placed on consumers due to increasing inflation – in particular, continuous petrol price increases and the resultant goods and services price hikes.
Smuts says the highest percentage of low-risk tenants and the lowest percentage of risky tenants (the ideal combination) can be found in the North West. “In sharp contrast to this, the Northern Cape has the highest percentage of risky tenants and the lowest percentage of minimum-risk tenants – only 1 in 10 tenants are in this category, while nearly 6 out of 10 Northern Cape tenants are classified as risky.”
In Q3 only one province showed an increase in rental growth rate compared to the previous quarter – Mpumalanga; the only province with a definite upward trend over the past year. By comparison, the Free State and KwaZulu-Natal both saw good growth rates over the past year, but experienced a decrease in growth from Q2 to Q3. “It’s worth noting that the 5.2% year-on-year growth recorded in the Western Cape in Q3 is the province’s lowest since we started publishing the PayProp Rental Index in 2012,” says Smuts.
“One positive development is that average tenant income grew faster than rent for the first time in a year, at 3.73% over the past 12 months,” adds Smuts. She notes that economists expect inflation to continue to rise for most of 2019 while economic growth is likely to stay slow, meaning consumers won’t get a break for at least the next year.
Smuts offers advice to property owners and agents to best manage the current rental economy: “Risk management should be the number one priority. Don’t compromise on tenant placement, recheck before you renew, and diligently chase arrears.”
About the PayProp Rental Index: The PayProp Rental Index is a quarterly guide outlining trends in the South African residential rental market, and is compiled from transactional data collected by PayProp, the largest processor of residential letting transactions in South Africa.