Human Settlements, Basa ink new housing deal

13 October 2015

The Department of Human Settlements (DHS) and the Banking Association of South Africa (Basa) have revived a MoU to tackle the current low-income-housing provision-backlog and advance the department’s ambition of delivering millions of affordable housing units in the next four years.

The public-private partnership aims to facilitate cooperation between the two parties in extending housing finance on a sustainable basis to low-income borrowers who failed to meet government’s subsidy threshold but could not afford private sector housing.

The initial 2005 agreement saw R44-billion – R2-billion above target – set aside for affordable housing finance for those earning between R1 500 and R7 500 a month by 2008, as per the Financial Sector Charter; however, the programme fizzled out shortly thereafter.

Now, DHS acting director-general Mbulelo Tshangana on Monday said that, with a housing backlog of 2.1-million, available government funding of R170-billion through the Medium-Term Strategic Framework was inadequate and private sector support was required.

DHS and Basa committed to appoint working teams that would give effect to the MoU, with the intention of “operationalising” the partnership and accelerating the financing of affordable housing.

About 54% of households, earning below R3 500 a month, met the threshold for the partial finance-linked individual subsidy programme. However, of the 31% of households earning between R3 500 and R10 000, around three-quarters – up to three-million households – fell into the gap of being unable to afford private sector housing, but were above the subsidy threshold.

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