Monday, November 28, 2016
The 2016 International Housing Association (IHA) Interim Meeting took place on November 1-4, in Durban, South Africa. The meeting brought together housing market experts from different countries to discuss and share information about their respective housing markets. The countries represented at the meeting were: Australia, Canada, Japan, Namibia, Nigeria, Norway, Peru, South Africa, Tanzania, The Gambia, Uganda, United States, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The presentations focused on country specific situations, and special topics.
Country Specific Presentations
How access to housing finance varied across countries was one of the highlight of the country specific presentations. Several papers and the 2014 IIMB-IMF housing conference have pointed out that access to housing finance is a bit easier in the developed countries compared to developing countries. This finding is consistent with what is reported on the ground. The presentations from developed countries showed single digit mortgage rates (Australia: 4.5%, Canada: 2.5-2.9%, Japan: 0.625-0.750%, Norway: 2.2-3.4%, United States: 3.6%). In contrast the presentations from emerging and developing countries showed double digit mortgage rates except for Peru (Namibia: 11.75%, Peru: 8.7%, South Africa: 10.5%, Tanzania: 19%, The Gambia: 20-23%, Uganda: 22%, Zambia: 22.5%, and Zimbabwe: 12-18%).
A growing housing deficit in emerging and developing countries was also highlighted at the meeting. Most of the representatives from emerging and developing countries reported a housing backlog that is growing. For example, Namibia has a backlog of 110,000 housing units that is growing at annual rate of 3,700 units. Other countries also reported housing deficits: Peru: 1.9 million units, The Gambia: 50,000 units, Uganda: 1.6 million units, Zambia: 1.5 million units, Zimbabwe: 1 million units. In Tanzania, demand for housing is projected at about 200,000 units annually.
Human settlements, affordable housing, green building, IHA Africa, and a dataset on cross-country housing supply were some of the special topics that were presented. First, there was a presentation that described the fundamental elements of human settlements policy and legislation in South Africa. Second, there was a very fascinating presentation and site visit to the Cornubia Project. This affordable housing project aims at being a multi-billion Rand mixed use, mixed income development incorporating industrial, commercial, residential, and open space use. The overall project area is approximately 1,200ha in extent comprising of mainly agricultural land. Third, Green Building Council of South Africa made a presentation on green building. Green building has started to gain traction and emerging as an important topic.
Fourth, there was a presentation that calls for creating an International Housing Association for Africa or developing countries. One of the ideas is to bring more members from the Africa and developing countries and shed more light on the housing market in this part of the world. Five, there was a presentation on a dataset on housing supply. The presentation focused on showing the trends and patterns in housing construction since the Great Recession across 42 countries.
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