A total of 121 building plans were approved by the City of Windhoek in January, representing a 33.0% m/m increase from the 91 building plans approved in December. In monetary terms, the approvals were valued at N$189.4 million, an increase of N$23.0 million compared to last month. Buildings with a value of N$16.4 million were completed during January. January 2020 is off to a slower start in terms of both number and value of approvals, compared to January 2019 when 162 building plans worth N$272.7 million got the nod. On a twelve-month cumulative basis, 1,991 building plans worth approximately N$1.90 billion were approved, a decline in number of 6.4% y/y, but an increase of 3.6% in value terms over the prior 12-month period.
In terms of number of approvals, additions to properties made up the largest portion of approvals. For the month of January, 98 additions to properties were approved with a value of N$35.7 million, 33 fewer than the number of additions approved in January 2019. The value of the additions approved in January is however only N$864,000 less than those observed in the first month of 2019. 14 additions worth N$3.6 million were completed during the month.
New residential units were the second largest contributor to the total number of building plans approved in January. 17 new units worth N$17.8 million were approved in January, representing an 89.4% decrease from the N$167.9 million worth of approvals in the first month of 2019. On a 12-month cumulative basis, residential units recorded a 30.3% y/y decrease in number of approvals and a 27.3% y/y decrease in value. 19 new residential units worth N$12.8 million were completed during the month.
Commercial and industrial building plans approved in January amounted to 6 units, worth N$136.0 million. This compares to 2 units valued at N$70.0 million approved in January 2019. On average over the last 20 years, 4 commercial units valued at N$26.2 million were approved in the first month of the year. It is interesting to note that three of January 2020’s approvals, worth N$85.3 million, are part of a large building project planned in the Otjomuise vicinity. No commercial and industrial units were completed in January.
The 12-month cumulative number of building plans approved decreased by 6.4% y/y in January. A total of 1,991 building plans to the value of N$1.91 billion were approved over the last 12 months which represents an increase in value terms of 3.6% y/y. The majority of these approvals are additions to properties which are typically of low relative value. While growth in commercial and industrial construction activity has picked up slightly, it is from a low base, and construction activity in the commercial and industrial space remains very subdued. The low number of approvals is an indication that the construction sector is likely to remain under pressure during the rest of the year.