Housing Finance in Namibia

Overview

This profile is also available in French here.

To download a pdf version of the full 2020 Namibia country profile, click here.

Namibia is an upper-middle income country with a population of 2.4 million. The urban population has grown from 28 percent in 1991 to 41 percent in 2019 and economic growth has largely supported urbanisation. However, real gross domestic product (GDP) has been subdued in recent years, contracting from 6.4 percent in 2014, to -1 percent in 2019. Namibia’s already weakening macroeconomic position is expected to be amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The country responded to the COVID-19 with a package of measures aimed at mitigating the social and economic impact. A notable response by the Bank of Namibia was four policy rate cuts over the course of the year, bringing the rate to 3.75 percent.

Poverty and a lack of financial resources to acquire decent housing are major constraints. Namibia’s mortgage market is focused on the middle and high income segments of the market and therefore excluded the majority of Namibians. High household indebtedness, which is driven by muted income growth and demand for short term credit facilities excludes most Namibians from the mortgage market. Housing affordability in Namibia is also constrained by the high cost of serviced land. Serviced land is a prerequisite for banks to approve loans. The microfinance sector is a vibrant and important sector in Namibia. Many Namibians depend on cash loans, as well as micro-loans and retail loans to satisfy their monthly consumption and budget.

Despite government’s efforts to deliver serviced land, scale tenure security, sanitation and housing,  through the National Housing Enterprise (NHE), the process needs to be accelerated to meet high demand. Namibia’s housing backlog is estimated to be 300 000 units (with an 84 000 backlog in Windhoek). FNB’s Housing Index shows that demand for housing in Namibia is largely in the lower segment. The shortage is a clear opportunity for housing development projects. The NHE’s houses are constructed through a public private partnership construction model which allows the institution to partner with private investors.[1] This presents an opportunity for private sector participation to complement public resources in addressing Namibia’s housing crisis.

 

[1] All Africa (2020). Namibia: Housing enterprise to commence with construction of 335 houses in July. 16 June 2020. https://allafrica.com/stories/202006160696.html (Accessed 9 October 2020).

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


Each year, CAHF publishes its Housing Finance in Africa Yearbook. The profile above is from the 2020 edition, which has up-to-date profiles for 55 African countries.

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