The outlook for the residential property market in 2009 remains bleak, Absa said.

'Levels of activity are set to stay subdued up to the second half of the year, while prices in the middle segment of the market may decline by as much as 2.5 percent in nominal terms this year,' said property analyst Jacques du Toit.

A further real decline in house prices was expected in 2009, based on projected consumer price inflation trends and declining nominal prices.

The Times (Johannesburg)