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Understanding the behaviour of house prices and household income per capita in South Africa: Application of the asymmetric autoregressive distributed lag model

Anthanasius Fomum Tita and Pieter Opperman
Publication date: 
March 2021

Homeownership by the lower and middle-income households is crucial to create wealth, particularly for South Africa with high levels of economic and wealth inequality. However, scholarship has paid little attention to how income affects the affordable housing market segment despite its systemic importance to the South African economy. This study employs the asymmetric autoregressive distributed lag model to study the effect of household income per capita on the affordable house prices in South Africa using quarterly data from 1985 to 2016. The results revealed the presence of an asymmetric long-run relationship between affordable house prices and household income per capita. The estimated asymmetric long-run coefficients of logIncome[+] and longIncome[-] are 1.080 and -4.354 respectively implying that a 1% increase/decrease in household income per capita induces a 1.08% rise/4.35% decline in affordable house prices everything being equal. We argue that given the 71.4% market share of affordable housing in all residential properties in South Africa, a persistent fall in household income can trigger a systemic crisis, particularly with mortgage securitization. Thus, policymakers should closely monitor the practice of mortgage securitization, particularly in the affordable market segment to avoid systemic risk to the economy.

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