French government agency loans Absa R400million
Absa has been loaned ß40million (about R400million) by the French government's Agence Française de Développement (AFD) for low cost housing.
"AFD is helping home buyers who have joint household monthly incomes of less than R7500 buy homes of their own," said Gavin Opperman, managing executive of Absa Home Loans.
Despite the building of more than 2,4million low-income houses over the past 10 years, South Africa's housing backlog continues to be a challenge.
Government statistics put the number of families living in informal dwellings at about 2,3million - an increase of 26percent over the same period.
The Housing Department says the delivery of houses will have to be upped by 12percent if the backlog is to be addressed.
Government says one reason for delays in approving housing subsidies is the lack of skills and capacity in provincial governments and municipalities.
AFD's regional representative Vincent Rousset said the Absa-AFD deal was unique in that 75percent of the funds available would be used for affordable housing clients, and the remaining 25percent would be used for skills and capacity building for people working in the sector.
"We will provide training to 500 senior and middle managers in public sector town-planning, engineering and housing departments across the country. Previously disadvantaged intermediaries operating in the low-income housing field will also be drawn into the property academy net," Opperman said.