House price growth accelerates: FNB

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House prices in March marked the highest year-on-year growth rate since June 2010, First National Bank said on Monday.

"The FNB House Price Index showed a further slight acceleration in March, up from a revised February growth rate of 7.1 percent to eight percent year-on-year," said FNB property strategist John Loos.

He said the February index showed a mild increase of 0.9 percent year-on-year, with consumer price inflation in February slightly lower than house price growth, at 6.1 percent.

This meant that since the peak in March 2008, real house prices -- house prices adjusted for CPI inflation over the period -- were 11.5 percent lower at February 2012.

In nominal terms they were 11.8 percent higher than March 2008.

However, Loos said compared to price levels first recorded in 2000, real prices were 69.4 percent higher in February this year and nominal prices were 226.9 percent higher in March.

The mild improvement was attributed in part to the late-2011 improvement in real economic growth.

Loos said people had become more confident about job security as a result.

"In addition, interest rates have been low and stable for a long time now, with interest rate cutting in the current cycle having started as far back as December 2008."

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