19 Apr 2013 - 10:15

AURORAIHS Managing Partner Soula Proxenos and Professor Francois Viruly

The latest research into the provision of affordable housing in the so-called gap market in South Africa shows that it not only brings with it improved welfare and social cohesion, but is also an important facilitator of opportunities and wealth creation.

The study found that those who obtain homes in this sector move beyond viewing them as a mere shelter. Instead, their homes become assets and through appreciation of these assets entrepreneurship, job creation and/or access to higher levels of education are stimulated.

The research was conducted by a team led by University of Cape Town associate professor Francois Viruly.

It is the second such study commissioned by International Housing Solutions (IHS), a global private equity investor which has pioneered the financing of numerous affordable housing projects in South Africa with a total value of almost R8-billion to date.

The primary focus of the research was to assess the direct and indirect benefits to tenants and owners of housing units provided by IHS, to assess the social and economic benefits of living in developments like these which are changing the face of SA suburbs. The study also aimed to establish whether such affordable housing developments meet the objectives of government policy regarding sustainable human settlements.

The research was expanded this year to include some 500 households across more than twenty different developments. The survey also considered the views of students who this year made up 17% of the respondents.

Affordable housing refers to households with an income between R3500 and R18000 per month. People in this segment earn too much to qualify for government