There has been an uptick in mortgage lending in recent months, which appears to be supported by the big banks vying more aggressively for a slice of SA’s R960bn home loans market. The value of outstanding household mortgage balances increased by 4% in 2018, up from growth of 3.5% in 2017, according to the latest figures from the SA Reserve Bank. Granted, this is nowhere near the 20%-plus growth rates recorded during the 2004-2007 property boom, before banks got burnt by their overzealous lending to home buyers. But it is the first time there has been an acceleration in mortgage advances since 2016, when growth fell sharply). Economists expect demand for mortgage finance to continue its steady upward trajectory — despite the 25 basis point hike in interest rates in November. Absa Home Loans property analyst Jacques du Toit forecasts household mortgage lending will grow by about 5% this year. That will push the total value of mortgage debt in SA to just over R1-trillion. He says prope...

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