The African Union for Housing Finance is pleased to announce its Annual Conference and AGM, to be held at the FNB Conference Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 6-9 September 2011. As a tool for building effective demand for housing, housing finance arises out of the interplay between the housing market and the financial market. The housing market includes the supply of housing (whether for ownership or rental) in both the primary and resale markets, and this depends on the availability of land and infrastructure for housing development, suitable urban housing policies, functioning property markets and, in the case of mortgage markets specifically, a functioning deeds registry. The ability to provide housing finance is determined by the financial market and how it operates within the broader, macroeconomic framework of a country or region, the risk management practices and requirements that prevail, various balance sheet constraints (influenced by both national and international fiscal policy, as well as by bank strategy), functioning property markets and foreclosure potential, investor interest and competing asset classes, and market infrastructure (Walley, 2011). Together, these factors create the environment in which housing finance can be offered, and this in turn creates the effective demand for housing which itself drives the housing market and frames, in part, the housing interests of the financial market.
As Africa sits poised for economic growth, how can the these ingredients be orchestrated to facilitate growth in the housing finance market, and what can housing finance practitioners do strengthen their position? These questions frame the agenda of the annual conference of the African Union for Housing Finance. The AUHF Annual Conference will bring together investors, banks, development finance institutions, pension funds, housing development companies, and other housing sector practitioners to consider the opportunities for housing finance markets in Africa. Taking place in Sandton, South Africa, from 6-9 September 2011, the AUHF Conference will explore the ingredients for growth in housing finance in Africa, and will identify opportunities for increased participation by housing finance sector practitioners. The Conference will be followed by the Annual General Meeting of the AUHF, where a focused programme of action will be developed so that the body can represent its members’ interests in various policy and other forums throughout the year.