South Africa’s post-1994 housing policy is working well, particularly when compared to international delivery benchmarks.
According to the Department of Housing figures, by March 1999, 745 717 units were either completed or under construction, not far short of the million units promised. After a very slow start, the delivery rate escalated dramatically, averaging 200 000 per annum and in 1998 approached the 350 000 per annum target.
Housing budgets should be growing at an increasing rate before slowing and stabilising. Failure to do so will lead to demobilisation of capacity.
Housing policy’s strength is its capacity to accommodate various ideological predispositions and associated delivery systems. With a more demand-driven subsidy system, a vigorous housing association movement has a place in the overall housing framework, particularly in facilitating inner city reconstruction.
Despite overall success, several issues are of concern and need addressing. These include: the need to extend formal mortgage bonds further downmarket; basing subsidy budgeting process on non-linear projections; and normalising the lending environment.