Citymark: Analysis of residential property markets in South Africa’s eight metros

With support from the Cities Support Programme of National Treasury, the Citymark project undertakes analysis of South Africa’s residential property markets, with a particular focus on the lower end of the market. Utilising title deeds data obtained from Lightstone Pty Ltd, the analysis separates the market into four segments, allowing the careful examination of the differentiated performance of the entry level (under R300 000), affordable (R300 000 – R600 000), conventional (R600 000 – R1.2m) and high end (over R1.2m) markets. By merging suburb-level data from the deeds registry with StatsSA subplace data from the 2011 Census, we can undertake detailed, spatial analysis of residential property markets.

In 2018, we developed detailed reports on the size, activity and performance of the affordable housing markets in Cape Town, eThekwini and Mangaung. The reports are wide-ranging, providing market intelligence on opportunities and challenges in the housing market. Insights include, comments on the effects of rapid appreciation and production declines. They also include recommendations for policy environment alignment and investment strategies.

Our Citymark market intelligence dashboards allow users to engage with the data at metro level, by sub-place:

  • The national overview dashboard provides data on then number of residential properties and number of transactions (new and resale) country-wide, from 2008 to 2019.
  • Our second dashboard then gives an overview of housing stock and transactions by metro, for the same period 2008-2019, and enables you to view the number and location of residential properties by market segment by metro, disaggregating by government subsidised residential properties (RDP and BNG houses) vs. non government-subsidised residential properties.
  • In the third dashboard, we focused exclusively on government-subsidised housing in the eight metropolitan municipalities: Cape Town, Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Nelson Mandela Bay, Buffalo City, Mangaung and eThekwini—for the period 2008 to 2019.
  • Finally, our fourth dashboard is a detailed analysis of mortgage lending at metro level and presents the number and value of new, resale and total transactions with a bond at the subplace level for the eight metropolitan municipalities—for the period 2008 to 2019. In addition, we provide the total number and value of bonds outstanding.

We also produce  separate reports on the residential property markets for each of the eight metros, with analysis of government-sponsored properties, freehold and sectional title homes, new and resale transactions, lending, first-time homebuyers. In 2020, we updated these eight individual metro reports with deeds data up to the end of 2019. The Johannesburg, Cape Town, Nelson Mandela Bay, Buffalo City, eThekwini, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane and Mangaung reports are available.

Most recently (February 2022) we released an updated report for eThekwini, based on deeds data as at end of June 2021. The report begins to unpack the impact of COVID-19 on South Africa’s residential property market.

Finally, we have produced two Focus Notes which explore particular topics using the 2019 title deeds data. The first uses the title deeds data to analyse the impact of metro property rates policies on low-income households and the affordable housing sector. The second Focus Note dives into the issue of first-time home buyers in metro residential property markets: where are they buying? which market segment and types of properties are they buying? how many first-time home buyers are accessing the property ladder through government-subsidised housing, vs. buying a house on the new build or resale market?

CAHF’s work in South Africa is supported by:


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