By Hilary Mare
THE Community Land Information Program (CLIP), which has been carried out by Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia/Namibia Housing Action Group, estimated that up to 25 percent of the Namibian population (which translates into 134 884 households or 541 119 people) lives in informal settlements without security of tenure.
Essentially, in 2013, the national housing backlog was estimated at 100 000 housing units and growing at an annual rate of about 3 700 units. The largest backlog of housing is in the lowest income sectors, with monthly incomes of N$0 to N$1 500 (estimated at 45 000), and income between N$1 501 and N$4 600 (estimated at 30 000). According to the Namibia Population and Housing Survey of 2011, the rate of urbanisation in the country increased from 28 percent in 1991 to 43 percent in 2011. This trend has resulted in a proliferation of informal settlements in the major towns and urban centres. According to the 2009/2010 Namibia Household and Income Expenditure Survey (NHIES) 24 percent of Namibians do not have access to decent shelter.
“We can expect the 2015/16 survey to indicate a higher percent when it is released.
“The reasons for this state of affairs are many but can generally be summarised to be as a result of the rate of urbanisation outstripping the rate at which serviced urban land and basic services as well as housing are delivered. And where such services and facilities are provided, they are often at prices that majority of the needy cannot afford.
“In order words, the scarcity of available serviced land is both pushing up the prices of serviced land and also slowing down the process of housing delivery, and is perceived to be the key challenge facing the housing sector,” Sophia Shaningwa, Minister of Urban and Rural Development said.
According to the December 2015 First National Bank (FNB) Housing Index, the median house price for 2015 was N$800 000, up from N$700 000, representing an annual increase of 14.26 percent. Majority of the working Namibians cannot afford houses in this price range.
“The reality is that local authorities have been selling and continue to sell land (serviced and unserviced) to private property developers who have built and continue to build various types of housing units. However, such properties are often unaffordable to the many needy,” added Shaningwa.
According to the World Bank’s Doing Business 2016 Report, about 74 percent of Namibian households do not have access to conventional home loan facilities that are offered by the financial market as access to such credit facilities remains difficult to the majority.
“There is a mismatch between the types and pricing of the housing products that are dominating the market and the needs and affordability levels of the large section of market especially the low to middle income segment, available serviced land and housing units is often pricy due to the high cost of inputs and lengthy and out-dated approval processes of proclamation of townships, surveying, subdivision and registration of land;
“According the Africa Housing Finance Yearbook 2016, Namibian commercial banks are over-exposed to mortgages and there is a need and an opportunity to introduce new or additional financing instruments such as through securitisation, which will increase the number of investment instruments and deepen the financial sector,” she added.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015