PROPERTY: Record Bond Applications And Approvals
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Cape Town-based ooba, South Africa’s leading bond originator, recorded a massive growth in bond applications and a significant increase in approved bonds in the last quarter.
The company’s latest statistics revealed that its bond applications for June increased by 51.3% compared to the prior year. This increase is on the back of the 47.1% year on year increase in applications recorded in May, and the 48.5% increase recorded in April.
CEO of ooba, Saul Geffen, says that ooba has recorded consistent month-on-month increases in home loan applications since the beginning of 2011.
The statistics also revealed that June was a record month for the value of approved home loans, which is the highest value ooba has recorded since June 2008, over 3 years ago. June’s volumes are however only 25% of the approved loans recorded at the peak of the market in May 2007.
“March was a record month for ooba in approved home loans. We exceeded March’s value in May, and we are now a further 12.4% up on May in June.”
There has been consistent positive monthly growth in approved bonds recorded since January 2010. “We have experienced a growth of 51.9% in the value of approved home loans in the last quarter in comparison to same period in 2010.”
Geffen attributes the rise in applications and home loans approved to the company’s increased market share, as well as organic growth from the improved property market and lending conditions. “Over the past year we have focused on growing our national sales force, which has improved our market penetration and customer acquisition.”
He says that the improved property market conditions are a direct result of the low interest rate environment that South Africa is currently experiencing. “The reduction in interest rates of 650 basis points since 2008 has improved affordability and reduced the cost of servicing a bond significantly.
“The record low interest rates, coupled with subdued property price inflation, increased bank approval rates and lower deposit requirements, has resulted in an influx of applications by potential homeowners. The volume of applications received for the last quarter increased by 48.9% compared to the same period in 2010. One must also take into account that the volume of applications received during April to June of 2010 was already up by 24.6% on 2009.”
He says that the major lenders have also consistently continued to relax their lending criteria, which has positively impacted on the effective approval rate, which is the overall percentage of loans approved once ooba’s application process is complete (if the application is declined it is submitted to other banks until approved). “The effective approval rate has increased to 63.4% in May 2011, up from the lowest effective approval rate of 55.6% recorded in May 2010. However, the effective approval rate is still well below ooba’s highest effective approval rate of 81.26%, which was recorded in May 2007.”
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