Property management company PayProp’s latest annual market report for 2021 details where and how much average South Africans are paying rent.
“Quarterly rental growth statistics reveal a clear upward movement in Q4. The average rent increased by 0.8% year on year, from R7,854 per month in Q4 2020 to R7,906 in Q4 2021,” said PayProp.
The finance minister Enoch Gondongwana’s budget speech brought the South African Reserve Banks (SARB) continuation of rate hike cycles in early 2022, affecting the local property market.
“An increased repo rate directly impacts interest rates and affects many aspects of an economy, such as the exchange rate and money supply. Therefore it can be used to manipulate spending to reach specific economic goals,” said Johette Smuts, head of data analytics at PayProp.
Additional PayProp calculations between increased repo rates and rental growth show a strong correlation over the three years they tested.
Smuts stressed that the strong correlation is not an accurate representation that one variable causes the other but that it is more likely that the same underlying factors cause both rent increases and interest rate hikes.
“Either way, the strong correlation indicates that we could see a rebound in the rental growth rate if the repo rate increases in 2022 and beyond.”
The national picture
PayProp reported that in Q4 2021, more than a third of properties managed by its agencies across South Africa fell within the R5,000 – R7,500 and just over 20% within the R2,500 – R5,000 and R7,500 – R10,000 brackets, respectively.
Here’s what people are paying for rent across the country:
Rent in the Eastern Cape increased by 2.8% between Q4 2020 and Q4 2021, outperforming, as it did in Q1 and Q2, the national average (0.8%).
“Nevertheless, the average rent in the area was still just R6,407 at the end of 2021 – the second lowest after the North West,” said PayProp.
The Eastern Cape has the highest percentage of tenants renting for R1,000 to R2,500. One in eight rentals in the province fall within this price bracket, and more than a third of all rentals countrywide in this bracket are in the Eastern Cape, PayProp said.
The average income for people in the Eastern Cape was R29,954, up 5.5% from 2020. The average Eastern Cape tenant spent 30% of this salary on rent.
Unlike many other provinces, Free State rent declined from Q4 2020 to Q4 2021 by 0.2%.
According to PayProp, this was the fourth consecutive quarter of negative growth. The average rent for Q4 2021 came to R6,512 per month.
The majority of rental contracts in the Free State were spread between the R2,500 and R7,500 brackets.
With an average income of R29,278 in Q4 2021, Free State tenants spent 29.3% on rent, said PayProp.
Gauteng rent decreased by an even more considerable margin than the Free State, with a 2% year-on-year decrease in Q4 2021.
The average rent for Gauteng tenants during the final quarter of 2021 was R8,253, said PayProp. This was still above the national average of R7,906.
Gauteng dropped from the second most expensive province in Q4 2020 to fourth in Q4 2021 – 38.5% of rentals in Gauteng were priced between R5,00 and R7,500, said PayProp.
Gauteng has the highest density of rentals in this price band of any province. The average income in Gauteng is slightly above the national average at R35,481 compared to R24,812, respectively.
“Despite their higher-than-average incomes, Gauteng tenant’s expenditure on rent took up 28.6% of their salary,” PayProp said.
Rent distribution across KwaZulu-Natal closely matched the national pattern in Q4, PayProp said.
“Just over a third of rents fell within the R5,000 – R7,500 price range, with 17.9% and 20.3% falling in the categories below and above respectively.”
KwaZulu-Natal boasts the second most expensive average rental at R8,386.PayProp stressed that KwaZulu-Natal is also a hotspot for luxury rental properties, with 9.2% of the province’s rentals costing over R15,000 a month.
It said that 30.2% of KwaZulu-Natal tenant’s monthly income went to rent.
Most Limpopo tenants pay in the price range of between R5,000 and R7,500 per month – 33.5%.
Its average monthly rent of R7,168 was more than R700 below the national average in Q4 2021, PayProp said.
“Despite the fall in average incomes, this was lower than the year before, at 48.2% tenants in Limpopo spend the highest percentage of their income on rent out of all the provinces,” said PayProp.
The average Mplumalanga rent in Q4 2021 was R7,791 – 3.8% more than the same quarter the year before, PayProp said.
Mpumalanga enjoyed the highest year-on-year growth of all nine provinces, with positive change in all four quarters.
The most popular price bracket was between R5,000 and R7,000, with 34.7% of rents falling within this category.
PayProp’s reports from the North West are shifted due to the high number of student housing in their figures.
More than half of the rentals in the North West were between R2,500 and R5,000. The average rent paid in the North West was R5,382.
As a result, rent made up 21.2% of North West residents’ net income.
As the third most expensive province in the country in Q4 2021, the average rent for the Northern Cape was R8,287, PayProp said.
Most Northern Cape residents spent between R5,000 – R7,500 on rent, with just under 30% of rentals in this price bracket.
According to PayProp, rent in the Western Cape increased by 1.7% from Q4 2020 to Q4 2021 and remained the most expensive province with an average rent of R9,413.
Just above a third of rents in the province were priced between R5,000 and R7,500, with 12.2% of rentals being more than R15,000 per month.