SA provincial government and banking group cooperate in affordable housing drive

The KwaZulu-Natal provincial government in South Africa and Standard Bank Group (SBG) have agreed on a series of measures to identify and develop affordable housing projects across the province.

A memorandum of understanding between the two parties commits the KwaZulu-Natal government and SBG to a range of shared and individual activities aimed at accelerating the identification of affordable housing projects, securing development financing and expanding supply of housing for middle-income families.
The signing of the agreement was announced at the launch of the R1.5bn Woodmead integrated residential development north of Durban. This development will provide homes, work opportunities, schooling and recreation facilities for 3,500 families in a self-contained community covering 427 hectares.
Kevin Duncan, head of Standard Bank's Integrated Residential Development Division (IRDev), says the memorandum of understanding with the provincial government puts into more tangible form the growing cooperation between public and private sectors in addressing a growing housing gap.
"Middle-income families earning from R3,000 to R9,000 a month are at risk of being stranded in a position where they earn too much to qualify for a State housing subsidy, but not enough to qualify for a traditional bank loan.
"The development of good quality projects for this market is important not only for government but also for business because this is the segment that is the bedrock of the economy," says Duncan.
He says the KZN provincial government is able to help the private sector identify appropriate projects and speed up processes for approving plans and obtaining government funding. Duncan says the memorandum of understanding will help Standard Bank ensure that it is pursuing affordable housing projects in accordance with government strategies.
Duncan welcomed the R1bn announced in the recent Budget speech for grants in the affordable housing sector to assist this target market.
"While we still need detail on how the R1bn will be allocated, any boost to the affordable housing sector is most welcome. There are a number of affordable housing projects completed recently that demonstrate how private and public sector cooperation can drive provision of good quality homes on a large scale.
"The memorandum of understanding will also help both the province and Standard Bank ensure we are positioned to take full advantage of investments by national government in the affordable housing sector," says Duncan.

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