Economy to affect home builders more

13th November 2020 By: Mamaili Mamaila - Journalist

Economy to affect  home builders more

SONGEZO BOOI After almost 12 years, the home-building industry is still struggling to reach its former peak

The effects of Covid-19 and the sluggish economy remain the biggest challenge for the civil engineering and construction sectors.

Regrettably, more jobs will be shed. This will affect the home-building sector more than most subsectors – similar to the situation in 2009, when the global financial crisis happened – says home building industry regulator the National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC) acting CEO Songezo Booi.

He notes that the sector is sensitive to job losses, fewer mortgage approvals, a “wait-and-see” attitude by cautious buyers and developers, distressed sellers, rental investors who are poised to lose tenants, as well as supply exceeding demand.

He also tells Engineering News that less investment by government also contributes to the makings of “a cocktail of disaster”, unless the industry collaborates and develops a shared vision of saving and repositioning the sector.

“At the height of the home-building boom period, from 2 000 to mid-2008, the NHBRC used to register more than 60 000 homes yearly with good-quality enrolment value. The 2008 financial crisis halved that to just over 26 000 registrations in 2009, and the quality of enrolment has not been as good ever since.”

After almost 12 years, the home-building industry is still struggling to reach its former peak, Booi states.

He underscores that it is almost certain that the number of new units destined for enrolment will plummet further and this will have a huge impact on the NHBRC’s revenue stream and that of homebuilders.

“I believe that the industry requires a summit to discuss the ‘new normal’ and carve a collective reimagined future.”

Meanwhile, Booi notes that the NHBRC aims to form strategic partnerships with other State-owned entities, among others, to provide homeowners and home builders with relevant and appropriate products and services.

The council also plans to adopt e-services and introduce services and training in indigenous languages. The NHBRC believes that this will enhance the adaptation and mainstreaming of home construction using alternative building technologies that will contribute to a greener future.

“We will also continue to seek out new customer service opportunities that will secure our sustainability and that of the home-building sector, consequently contributing to job and wealth creation for the country,” he underscores.