Johannesburg - The local property market remained subdued during the first three quarters of 2012, Absa said on Thursday.
"The planning phase of new housing continued to contract up to September, while the construction phase showed some marginal growth over the nine-month period compared with a year ago," said Absa property analyst Jacques du Toit.
Residential building activity was likely to remain subdued in 2013, he said.
FNB said the figures continued to show a settled picture.
The size of completed residential buildings were similar to the late 1990s, before the economic boom, said FNB property strategist John Loos.
Growth in square metres for completed residential buildings, on a three-month moving average, reached 2.37% in September.
This was slightly down from the second quarter's seven percent.
The residential replacement cost gap had also flattened.
This reflected the percentage difference between a home's existing value and its replacement cost.
This gap narrowed from 24.1% in the second quarter to 23.5% in the third quarter.
"As yet the decline is not significant, with the gap still remaining well above the virtually zero level at a stage in 2007," said Loos.
"That was a situation which facilitated the peak of the residential building boom in that year, as back then it was very easy for the development sector to compete price-wise with the existing home market."
The residential building sector continued to battle to gain traction at a time when it faced heavy competition from a well-supplied existing home market, he said.
The replacement cost gap made it difficult to compete price-wise with the existing market, said Loos.