A NEW organisation formed to address challenges faced by low-cost housing developers wants to make a real difference.

The South Africa Residential Developers Association (Sarda) was created recently when developers saw the need for an organisation that would directly represent them.

With just three months in existence Sarda has already acquired 40 members.

Sarda is a nonprofit organisation that helps developers of homes valued up to R500000 deal with challenges in their industry. This includes RDP-type housing projects.

Sarda chief executive Willie Vos said the market faced numerous challenges.

"Before any housing project can take place the land has to bought and the zoning process begun.

"The process involves checking with environmentalists who assess the impact of the housing project.

"Zoning also involves the Department of Minerals and Energy which checks their maps to see if there are mineral rights (on the proposed site).

"If there is a railway line next to the land, permission also has to be acquired.

"The whole process might take up to two or three years to complete. During this period the developer must also pay interest fees to the bank financing the project.

"Another hurdle is that funding institutions sometimes demand that 50 or 100percent of the houses be sold before developers even build the first house."

These costs see some developers going bankrupt, he said.

"We are bringing government, funding institutions and low-cost housing developers to one table where we can find solutions."