A total of 161 building plans were approved in May by the City of Windhoek, which is three fewer the 164 approvals in April. In value terms, however, approvals increased by N$31.2 million to N$127.7 million, a 32.3% m/m increase from April. A total of 201 completions to the value of N$51.6 million were recorded in May. The year-to-date value of approved building plans reached N$653.9 million, 43.7% lower than the comparative period a year ago. On a twelve-month cumulative basis, 1,916 building plans were approved worth approximately N$1.7 billion, 27.7% lower in value terms than approvals as at the end of May 2017.
Of the total 161 plans approved in May, additions to properties accounted for 121 of these approvals. Year-to-date, 591 additions to properties have been approved, decreasing by 0.8% y/y but rising 24.3% y/y in value terms to N$446.6 million.
New residential units were the second largest contributor to the number of building plans approved with 37 approvals registered in May, only one more than the 36 approvals in April. Year-to-date, 133 new residential units have been approved, three fewer than during the corresponding period in 2017. In monetary terms, N$171.5 million worth of residential plans have been approved year-to-date, a contraction of 31.6% when compared to the corresponding period last year.
Commercial and industrial building plans approved in May amounted to 3 units, worth N$3.1 million. This is two more than in the prior month, but a decline of 61.3% m/m and 99.4% y/y in value terms. Year-to-date, 17 plans for commercial and industrial purposes have been approved, valued at N$35.9 million. This compares to 16 units valued at N$551.3 million approved over the same period in 2017. On a rolling 12-month perspective, the number of commercial and industrial approvals have decreased by 17.7% y/y in May to 51 units.
The 12-month cumulative number of building plans approved increased by 8.0% as at the end of May when compared to the corresponding period in 2017. A total of 1,916 building plans to the value of N$1.7 billion were approved over the last 12 months which represents a decrease in value of 27.7% y/y due to a single project worth N$501 million dropping out of the 12-month cumulative range. The number of building plans approved, on a cumulative 12-month basis, has been increasing steadily since December 2017.
Consumer and business confidence, as measured by the IJG Business Climate Monitor, showed improvement in April 2018, rising to 51.94 points from 50.87 in March. The leading indicator, however, fell to 43.75 points from 47.6 in March, as a result of reduced government spending, a weaker currency and slow private sector credit extension. This is an indication that forecasts for a sustained recovery from the recession observed in 2017 remain fragile. No relief is expected in terms of interest rate cuts or increased fiscal stimulus in the short term.