Housing Finance in eSwatini


For the French version of this country profile, click here.

To download a pdf version of the full 2018 eSwatini country profile, click here.

The Kingdom of Swaziland, or more recently known as the Kingdom of eSwatini following a decision by King Mswati II to change the country’s name (which is subsequently being challenged), is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. In 2017, the total recorded population was 1.3 million people, of which 76 percent live in rural areas. eSwatini’s economic growth, while still low, is growing.

eSwatini’s banking sector consists of four commercial banks, three of which are subsidiaries of large South African banks,First National Bank, Nedbank and Standard Bankand one state-owned development bank– Swazi Bank. There is one building society – Swaziland Building Society (SBS)and three credit institutions- Letshego Financial Services, First Finance (Pty) Ltdand Blue Financial Services.

According to the latest available data (FinScope 2014), 64 percent of adults (age 18 or older) are formally included in the financial sector. Of the financially included, 54 percent have access to a bank account. The use of non-bank products particularly for remittance purposes is also high.  In 2014, 45 percent of adults reported either sending or receiving remittances monthly. The use of informal financial products and services, particularly for saving and credit purposes, is relatively high in eSwatini. In 2014, 40 percent of adults reported using informal financial products.

eSwatini has a relatively small but functioning mortgage market. The countries deeds offices processes on average 200 or more mortgage bonds a quarter.

Housing was included as a priority item in His Majesty’s Government Programme of Action 2014 – 2018 strategy document. During this period, the government promised to deliver over 700 additional residential serviced plots across four townships, in addition to other urban development projects. However, urban development and informal settlement upgrading has been a priority of the government since the 1990s.

eSwatini’s housing market is characterized by an under supply of affordable accommodation. According to Seeff and SNHB, there is a “huge gap” in the market for properties that priced within the reach of the country’s middle class. Given the limited supply of affordable housing solutions, lower income segments continue to rely on self-build and informal structures for shelter, particularly in the urban centres.

The country’s housing market is lacking affordable housing options for the middle to low income market and while public housing delivery is extensive, it is restricted to only certain segments of the market. With the upcoming release of the 2017 Population and Housing Census and the 2016 Income and Expenditure Survey, updated data on the income distribution of households will be made available, which in turn should help investors and developers reassess the country’s investment opportunities. Likewise, the data will provide sound basis for the development of updated housing and land-related policies. That said, the recent passing of the amended Sectional Titles Act is a significant achievement for the country and Swazi nationals alike.

Find out more information on the housing finance sector of eSwatini, including key stakeholders, important policies and housing affordability:

Each year, CAHF publishes its Housing Finance in Africa Yearbook. The profile above is from the 2018 edition, which has up-to-date profiles for 54 African countries.

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