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More Single Women in South Africa Own Property Through the Government's Housing Subsidy

single women make up 45 per cent of subsidy recipients, while men make up only 29 per cent. 26 per cent are in shared ownership. (Photo: Freepik)

About 1.65 million women own property in South Africa thanks to government housing subsidies.

Many of these women, who have benefited from the subsidy programme since its introduction in the mid-1990s, have subsequently been able to sell their homes profitably or transfer ownership to another person.

Breaking New Ground (BNG) government subsidies are available to South African citizens over the age of 21, earning less than R3,500 per month (US$185), first-time recipients of government subsidies, and first-time homebuyers.

However, other subsidies, such as Flisp, help people earning more - up to R22,000 (US$1,165) a month.

The latest figures show that of the 1.65 million women receiving subsidies, 1.05 million were single.

"In fact, single women make up 45 per cent of subsidy recipients, while men make up only 29 per cent. 26 per cent are in shared ownership," said Hayley Ivins-Downes, head of digital at a South African property market analysis company.

The vast majority of women who purchased homes with these subsidies (930,000 or 88 per cent) still own their properties.

About 90 thousand women who became sole proprietors sold their homes at an average price of R130 thousand ($6883), while the rest transferred the property to others for free, as reported by Pretoria News, a partner of TV BRICS.

GroundUp, a South African-based non-profit news agency, noted that the distribution of government-built homes is a complex process involving multiple municipal and provincial systems. In addition to RDP/BNG housing (BNG houses are intended to be larger than RDP houses), other forms of subsidised housing include:

  • Community Residential Units: intended for families earning less than R3,500 (US$185 per month) and for rent only, not for sale;

  • Upgrading of Informal Settlements Programme: provides informal settlements with running water, sanitation, electricity and roads;

  • Emergency Housing Programme;

  • Finance Linked Individual Subsidy Programme (FLISP): Is one example of a government initiative to provide housing for those earning more than R3,500 but less than R22,000 per month (this is the minimum amount required to obtain a home loan from a bank);

  • Social Housing Programme: mainly (though not exclusively) for households earning between R3,500 and R7,500 per month (US$397).



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