Africa’s housing finance sector has been going through considerable growth and change over the past decade, responding to the broader economic growth opportunities in many countries on the continent, as well as to the pressures of rapid urbanisation. Historically, housing has been mostly a personal exercise – households themselves, whether wealthy or poor have constructed the majority of housing on the continent. This is now changing, and over the past ten years, developers have been moving in to build housing, and housing finance systems are reconfiguring themselves accordingly. Mortgage markets are also slowly developing, and as economic frameworks improve, investors are starting to look in this direction.
This is important – we need the scale. While the focus has been on the high value market, it is increasingly the case that investors, developers and financiers are starting to recognise the potential of the affordable housing market – the African middle-class – and are responding with products and services tailored specifically to this opportunity. With improving data and information, investors and policy makers can better and more precisely target their interventions.
This year, we are seeing more than ever before, entrepreneurs, investors, financiers, developers and other participants in the housing value chain, play their part with a pragmatism and perseverance that clearly indicates their commitment to the long haul, and their recognition of the opportunities this provides. The housing sector in Africa is making its mark, and there are great opportunities going into the future.
This is the fifth edition of the Housing Finance in Africa yearbook. Since last year, we have added three country profiles bringing the total to 43 country profiles and four regional profiles. We have again sought out new data sources, and rethought our approach to the affordability triangles. We have been monitoring the news so that this yearbook reflects the mood and temperature of housing finance markets on the African continent in 2014.
The Yearbook is intended to provide housing finance practitioners, investors, researchers and government officials with a current update of practice and developments in housing finance in Africa, reflecting the dynamic change and growth evident in the market. It is hoped that it will also highlight the opportunities available for new initiatives, and help practitioners find one another as they strive to participate in the sector. While the general aim of the Yearbook is to offer a broad overview of housing finance and housing development in Africa, special emphasis is placed on the key challenge of housing affordability, and the critical need for housing products and finance that are explicitly targeted at the income profiles of the majority.
This has been a desktop study. Using the CAHF’s research as baseline material, further information on more recent developments was accessed from media reports, journal articles and practitioner websites. In some cases, material was shared with in-country practitioners. Of course, the yearbook is not comprehensive, neither in the scope of countries covered nor the data provided. It is intended as an introduction, with the hopes that the detail provided will whet the appetite for more. The CAHF invites readers to provide comment and share their experiences on what they are doing in housing finance in Africa.