Statistics as reported by SAPOA for the South African Property market reflected a contraction for the 2019 calendar year to date with a 8–10% total return (income and capital) forecasted (2018: 18.1%). This followed the trend of the general economy which continues to struggle on several fronts. Most commentators predict no or minimal growth in the economy for the 2019/20 period. Both capital and income returns are expected to remain in the 6–8% grow this band. Income-wise, retail properties reflected a decrease achieving returns of below 8% followed by the office sector at 7% however, industrial sector is stable at 10%.
Vacancies are a major cause for concern with office vacancies at 11.3%, just off all-time highs. The industrial segment was the best performer at 3.8% with the retail segment at 4.2%.
The headaches of retail property owners should worsen, according to the latest Rode’s Retail Report. The report highlights the continued decline of trading densities amid slow sales growth and oversupply. “Retail sales growth is slowing as consumers are buckling under financial pressure due to a moderation in salary growth and rising expenses”.
The office sector has a substantial new development supply scheduled to come on stream in the next 18 months and the possibility that vacancies in this segment will remain high for a considerable period is strong. Sandton CBD, the hub of Gauteng has over 490 000m2 of vacant office space at June 2019, with around 1 million m2 of new space either proposed or being built. The office market continues to record below inflation rental growth due to the over supply.
A noticeable trend was the higher operating costs, in particular that of municipal fixed and consumption costs, arising from high Eskom tariffs. Operating costs increased as a result to 35.7% of gross income over all property sectors (up from the previous period, 34.5%).
This upward trend is expected to continue in 2020.
Putprop’s exposure to the industrial sector (revenue) stands at 43.2% which positions the Group in a relatively stable environment going forward.