/ 26 November 2007

Absa injects money to cut housing backlog

Absa and the National Housing Finance Corporation (NHFC) on Monday signed a memorandum of understanding to speed up the provision of housing in several provinces.

Absa has committed R2,6-billion for the building of 100 000 units by 2010. The bank has also committed an additional R150-million for project preparations.

The agreement relates to Eastern Cape pilot programmes in Ngangelizwe, Elliotdale, Soweto on Sea, Motherwell, Mbashe, Elundini and Thornhill –as well as Siyanda in the Northern Cape, Mashishing in Mpumalanga, Grabouw in the Western Cape, and Diepsloot in Gauteng.

Absa Group home loans head Gavin Opperman said the parties will work together in finding solutions in the affordable housing market. ”We will strive for integrated development, quality housing, affordability and value for money.”

NHFC CEO Samson Moraba said: ”This will open doors to the future of the majority of the underserviced people in the low- to middle-income household markets.”

Moraba said the NHFC has a clear understanding of the housing market and will provide expertise for the development of the housing units.

More than 2,4-million low-income houses have been built over the past 10 years, but the housing backlog continues to be historically daunting, he said. About 2,3-million families live in informal dwellings.

The Department of Housing established the NHFC as a development finance institute in 1996, with a mandate of broadening access to affordable housing finance for the low- to middle-income household. — Sapa