From the Desk of the MD
Category From the Desk of the MD
Aren't you tired of all the negative news about our economy, our politicians and our prospects as a country? I certainly am, so I deliberately went looking this past few days for positives to write about - and especially those with relevance to the real estate market. Here are just some of the encouraging things I discovered:
- The average wage/ salary in SA is currently R21 000 - or 3,8% higher than it was at this time last year, while inflation is only 0,1% up;
- The total of personal disposable income in SA increased to an all-time high of R2,99bn in the first quarter of this year, compared to R2,97bn in the final quarter of 2018;
- While unemployment is high, total employment did show a year-on-year improvement of 0,8% in the first quarter of this year, and most of this increase was due to a rise in the number of full-time jobs;
- Education levels are improving. According to the latest General Household Survey, the percentage of South Africans over 20 with no education has dropped from 11,4% in 2002 to 4,5% currently, while the percentage of those with a matric has risen from 30,5% to 45,2%.
- Small businesses now contribute 29% of the total turnover of the formal business sector - or more than R690bn per quarter;
- Tourism is increasing. Almost 10,5m tourists visited SA in 2018 (compared to 10,3m in 2017) - and generally spent between three and six days here;
- The gold price has increased almost 9,5% since the beginning of the year; while the petrol price just dropped about 90c per litre and is now lower than it was at this time last year;
- The number of households in SA has increased by around 5,5m since 2002 but the percentage living in formal dwellings has remained at just over 80%, so there is enormous potential in this sector for builders, developers, banks, agents and many others involved in the provision of housing as well as those in related industries;
- Manufacturing and exports are up, imports are down and most economists are predicting an interest rate cut later this month that will help to stimulate economic growth.
Now, of course, all this doesn't mean that we have no problems to overcome. There are many, as we are all too well aware. But the truth is that most of our difficulties are capable of being solved - which is incidentally not the case now in many other parts of the world, including several so-called First World countries. What is more, you don't have to look far to find amazing South Africans in all walks of life who have decided to stop waiting for change to come to them and are trying to make it happen for themselves and those around them.
And I don't think it even matters whether they succeed or not. What matters is that they are trying, and that has to be a better choice to make than just sitting around listening to more pessimism from gloom merchants whose only motivation seems to be to prove themselves right.
Imagine what could happen in SA if we all took a decision now to do whatever we could to create a better future, instead of allowing ourselves to be immobilized by negativity?