The City of Windhoek approved a total of 221 building plans in February, representing an 81.1% m/m increase from the 122 building plans approved in January. In monetary terms, the approvals were valued at N$163.9 million, a 95.1% m/m increase, while buildings with a value of N$54.4 million were completed during February, a 5.5% m/m decrease. Although the number of building approvals for 2021 are 5.2% higher than the same period of 2020, the value of these approvals has fallen sharply by 40.1% y/y, from N$414.2 million in 2020 to N$248 million in 2021. In contrast, the number of completed buildings increased by 29.9% y/y year-to-date to 87, while the value of these completions rose by 93.3% y/y from N$57.9 million in 2020 to N$112 million in 2021. On a twelve-month cumulative basis, 2,299 buildings with the value of N$1.69 billion were approved, an increase of 13.6% in number, yet a decrease of 14% in value, similar to the previous 2 months.
In terms of number of approvals, additions to properties once again made up the largest portion of approvals. For the month of February, 131 additions to properties were approved with a value of N$70.6 million, 33 fewer than in February 2020. The value of the additions approved in February is 27.1% lower than those observed in February 2020. 11 additions worth N$4.61 million were completed during the month.
New residential units were the second largest contributor to the total number of building plans approved in February, but the largest contributor in value terms. 87 new units worth N$92.8 million were approved in February, representing a 14.5% decrease from the N$108.6 million worth of approvals in February 2020. On a 12-month cumulative basis, residential units recorded a 50.8% y/y increase in value. 42 new residential units worth N$49.8 million were completed during the month.
Three new commercial units, valued at N$505,000, were approved in February. This compares to 13 units valued at N$21.92 million approved in February 2020. Year-to-date, there have been 4 commercial building approvals valued at N$7.5 million, which translates to a 5.2% increase in number terms and a 40.1% decrease in value terms compared to the same period last year. On a rolling 12-month perspective, the number of commercial and industrial approvals have slowed to 26 units worth N$180.8 million as at February, compared to the 61 approved units worth N$647.3 million over the corresponding period a year ago. No commercial and industrial units were completed in February.
The 12-month cumulative number of building plans approved increased by 13.6% y/y in February. A total of 2,299 building plans to the value of N$1.69 billion were approved over the last 12 months which represents a decline in value of 14.0% y/y. Additions to properties have made up 67% of the cumulative number of approvals, but only 39.4% of the total value of approvals. Completed building plans, a lagging indicator, looks positive, increasing by 27% y/y in value terms to N$1.59 billion on a 12-month cumulative basis in February. Approved building plans, a leading indicator has consistently ticked up in number terms since August 2020. Although the value of these approvals fell by 14.0% y/y on a 12-month cumulative basis, the value of residential building approvals and additions to properties rose by 14.6%. The overall decline in value of approvals was thus mainly due to a large contraction in commercial building plan approvals, which has consistently declined in value terms on a rolling 12-month basis since September last year. Overall, Namibia’s housing market displays positive trends in both the 12-month cumulative value of plans completed as well as plans approved. The decline in commercial building plans approvals and completions is however concerning and reflects Namibia’s uncertain business outlook.