Standard Bank South Africa's affordable housing loan book reaches R14bn in 2012

Standard Bank South Africa's home loan book for the affordable housing market grew by 30% to R14-billion in 2012 as South Africa's largest residential mortgate lender continued to attract first-time homebuyers in this segment. Thabani Ndwandwe, head of credit management for inclusive banking at Standard Bank South Africa, says: "More than R2bn, or close to 80% of loans granted, was disbursed to first-time homebuyers in 2012 alone. Theincome band distribution also shows that we are not just financing the upper end of affordable housing market, but continue to increase access to home ownership for customers in the low income segment."

The term affordable housing refers to the market with household incomes of up to R18 000.

The milestone means that Standard Bank has now helped place more than 80 000 South Africa customers into homes since it took the decision five years ago to enter the affordable housing mortgage market. Nicholas Nkosi, head of affordable housing at Standard Bank South Africa, says: "One in three of all the houses sold in the affordable housing market continues to be financed by Standard Bank. Although there is still much to be done to address the extent of the country's housing challenge, this is a significant milestone."

He says what is also encouraging is that more and more people in this market segment are starting to put down deposits when they purchasehouses, which dispels some of the notions about consumers not saving. "Our experience is also an indication that demand in this segment of the housing market has remained resilient despite weak economic conditions. There is still high demand for affordable housing. Standard Bank also expects to attract more prospective homebuyers that are seeking to move out of the rental market and become home owners.

"Our figures confirm our commitment to getting as many people as possible into homes. Standard Bank has an appropriate and well-managed risk appetite that has enabled us to widen our product offering in the affordable housing market." Mr Nkosi says although the start of the implementation of Basel III regulatory capital requirements on banks is going to put pressure on customers' affordability, Standard Bank is developing innovative ways to ensure that users in the affordable housing market continue to enjoy lower costs and get into their first homes.

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