Key Points:

  • 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.
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