2019 Housing Finance in Africa Yearbook launched with regional argument for investment in affordable housing

November 4, 2019/CAHF

Investor interest in affordable housing for lower-income households has grown considerably in Africa over the past 10 years. However, the lack of reliable, available information continues to stunt market growth and often drives investment away.

A number of crucial gaps are identified in the latest edition of the Housing Finance in Africa Yearbook, launched by the Centre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa (CAHF) (HousingFinanceAfrica.org) in Cape Town today. According to Kecia Rust, CAHF executive director and founder: “In 2019, investors are desperate for information about the affordable housing market, but their enthusiasm will dissipate if specific opportunities cannot be identified and quantified in sufficiently reliable ways. Current investment in affordable housing in Africa, while growing, is still grossly insufficient.”

Among the data gaps are lack of information about the total size of outstanding mortgages, and information on lending, including construction and microfinance loans. The status of the deeds registries in many countries is also a problem, making it impossible to determine how many people have title deeds for their homes.

Other essential data difficult to find include the number of approved building permit applications, or even the number of properties where rates are being paid in the main city.

“A surprising number of countries do not appear to track housing completions, and do not have a data point that clarifies how many houses there are in a country – this is also true for a segment of the South African market, where the total number of subsidised houses built by the government since 1994 cannot be determined with certainty,” the Yearbook notes.

Another problem is that data is invariably aggregated to the national level. This means the ability to understand local nuance is lost.

The Housing Finance in Africa Yearbook is the flagship publication of CAHF and remains the only publication of its kind on the continent. No other source provides this type of updated information on residential property with a focus on the affordable market.

This year’s publication is the 10th anniversary edition. It is aimed at housing finance practitioners, investors, developers, researchers and government officials, and provides an up-to-date review of developments in housing finance and delivery in Africa, reflecting the change and growth in the market of each country over the past year. The publication provides concise overviews of the housing markets in all 55 countries of Africa, as well as five regional profiles, that together provide data and analytics for investors looking to invest in affordable housing across the continent.

The Yearbook is available online at www.HousingFinanceAfrica.org – a French version will be released in December.

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