Impact of housing sector on economy
IN an interview with Confidente, Sell Fast Real Estate and Auctions Principal Agent Uripi Kahorongo-Kauta speaks about the importance of the sector.
I would like to start off by thanking Confidente for shedding some light on a topic that is often neglected. Everyone regardless of social status needs a roof over their head but we don’t seem to truly understand the importance and the impact that the housing market has on the economy.
What role does the housing sector play?
Housing is an essential sector of the economy but also one that has been a source of vulnerability and volatility. It also plays a key role in the mortgage markets that are important in the transmission of monetary policies.
In short, a well-functioning housing sector is critical to the overall health of the economy. As the economy develops, we also expect corresponding growth of the housing market. Adequate housing can also facilitate labour mobility within the economy. Despite its importance, the housing market has not received sufficient attention from the macro-economy. So what should happen in this market requires real considered effort from all players such as the government, financial institutions, real estate agents and developers and households.
Where do housing markets stand in this period of a new normal caused by covid19 in Namibia?
It’s currently a buyers market which means we have an oversupply of properties in the market which gives hope to those who have been property hunting and this is the right time to approach financial institutions for prequalification. Windhoek real estate is dynamic and keeps on changing every year. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of big ideas to fill the void. House prices are one of the biggest things that changed drastically. During the last 15 years our real estate career, we have seen prices escalating in countless neighborhoods. From 1996 -2008, the Namibia real estate sector experienced a boom and from 2008-2010 we have seen a full swing upward mode until early 2016 and since then we see declining prices.
What needs to be done with the current state of our housing sector?
This market requires strategic input from all the industry players to ignite new thinking towards sustainability of the sector. It is only by maintaining an open dialogue on underlying issues such as overvaluation of properties that we gain solid understanding on how policies can contain housing booms. We need international coordination which is essential since housing booms in one country can be fed by the credit market developments abroad. I strongly advocate that an assessment of housing markets should become a regular feature of our country reports and more publications to improve the current housing statistics apart from the FNB index. We need more regular consultation with policymakers and experts in the industry to come together such as the Namibian Estates Agents Board, developers and Bank of Namibia to discuss housing issues.
What do you think homebuyers are looking for in a home during this time where we are currently confining ourselves?
I would say it varies by neighborhood and demographic. Firstly, homebuyers are peculiar and focus on how much they could qualify for a mortgage before taking the leap of faith to buy a property. Secondly, ENERGY EFFICIENCY has become a big thing for many homebuyers, and this is an important issue for considerations in this time where every penny should count. Many of my clients look for a safe neighborhood or the safety features when it comes to making the decision to invest in a property. For most families, they look for more proximity to their children’s schools and workplaces while young single people wouldn’t mind living a little further away from their workplaces. The proximity of a mall is always a bonus point.
What are some of the ways to keep that client interaction alive at Sell Fast Real Estate and Auctions?
It is important to stay in touch with my clients and I do it through pre -consultations and aftercare sales to ensure that they are settling in well in their new home. We also keep our clients up to date on current developments on what is happening in the sector for example the repo rate that is now at 3.75 percent which is very low compared to the previous years. Be mindful that with the new repo rate now please continue paying your current rate or even higher if you can that will helps you pay your bond faster. It is also awesome to be a part of someone’s journey to own a home and it is not something I take lightly. I have one of my longtime and STAR client who made a bet on me 20 years ago while I was a rookie agent. I helped my client to buy his first two bedroom apartment home in Wanaheda, then a three bedroom house in Khomasdal, and now he owns an astonishing double story Villa in Academia and it’s a full-filling journey to reflect on. My clients give me purpose and I remain grateful to the support and the trust in the brand of Sell Fast Real Estate & Auctions.