A total of 134 building plans were approved by the City of Windhoek in February. This is a decline in the number of plans approved on a monthly basis when compared to the 153 building plans approved in January. In monetary terms, the approvals were valued at N$78 million, a significant decrease of N$191.3 million compared to last month. 214 Buildings with a value of N$60.1 million were completed during February. The year to date value of approved building plans currently stands at N$347.2 million, 19.9% higher than the corresponding period in 2017. On a twelve-month cumulative basis, 1,979 building plans were approved, an increase of 16.8%, worth approximately N$2.25 billion.
The largest portion of building plan approvals was once again made up of additions to properties, from both a number and value perspective. Year to date 237 additions to properties were approved with a value of NS273.3 million, 65.0% more in value terms, and 51 more than the number of additions observed in the corresponding period in 2017.
New residential units were the second largest contributor to building plans approved with 41 residential units approved year-to-date, four more than the corresponding period in 2017. However, in monetary terms, N$56.3 million worth of residential plans were approved, 31.8% lower than the first two months of 2017.
The number of new commercial units approved so far in 2018 amounted to 9, valued at N$17.6 million. This compares to 8 units valued at N$41.5 million approved over the same period in 2017. On average over the last 20 years, 9.8 commercial units valued at N$52.2 million were approved in the first two months of the year (this figure is not inflation adjusted).
From a 12-month cumulative perspective, 1,979 building plans have been approved by February, an increase of 16.8% when compared to the corresponding period in 2017. This increase is positive news, as building plans approved is a leading indicator of economic activity in the country and implies that the Namibian economy is starting to show signs of recovery. The recent announcement by Moody’s to keep South Africa’s credit rating at investment grade has provided the South African Reserve Bank with space to reduce interest rates. The SARB’s 28 March MPC meeting saw the first rate cut of the year with the possibility of further cuts as the year progresses. This lower cost of debt will bring some relief to businesses and consumers alike.