AUHF conference on housing finance holds October

businessTHE African Union for Housing Finance (AUHF), a member-based association of mortgage banks, building societies, housing corporations and other organisations involved in the mobilisation of funds for shelter and housing on the African continent will hold its conference and annual general meeting in October at the Safari Hotel & Conference Centre, Windhoek, Namibia.
AUH is grounded on developing the institutional capacity of its members to enable them to effectively participate in addressing housing finance challenges on the continent; engaging with governments through member institutions; and developing partnerships with other regional and continental bodies on the African continent.

Africa’s housing finance sector has been going through considerable growth and change over the last decade, responding to the broader economic growth opportunities and rapid urbanisation. Over the past decade, developers have been gearing up to build housing, and housing finance systems are reconfiguring themselves accordingly. Mortgage markets are also slowly developing, and as economic frameworks improve, some investors are starting to look in this direction.

And yet, by international comparisons, African mortgage markets are tiny. While South Africa and Namibia have relatively high mortgage debt to GDP ratios for the continent (22.04 per cent and 18.21 per cent, respectively, in 2013), few others have ratios above 5 per cent. This compares with mortgage debt to GDP ratios of over 40per cent in North America and over 80 per cent in certain European countries. 
There is clearly room for growth. The World Bank estimates that if only the top 3per cent of Africa’s population were to access mortgages, the continent’s mortgage debt to GDP ratio could rise to 18 per cent (12 per cent, excluding South Africa). This activity could contribute as much as US$300 billion to GDP across the continent.
Then, there is the much wider market for non-mortgage housing finance–pension backed lending in some jurisdictions, and more broadly, housing microfinance and savings to support households’ incremental housing processes.

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