The IHS Affordable Housing Conference was a sold-out event with a host of interesting topics.
As a preview to some of the content of the conference, several key themes emerged:
- Green theme – green projects in South Africa hold the potential to make more impact than similar projects even in countries like Kenya which use a lot of renewable energy (proportionately), because we are so ‘brown’. The impact is proportionately greater.
- The value of affordable homes in Cape Town is up to 30% higher than in the rest of the country, particularly Gauteng. There is likely to be a closing of the gap, so now is a good time to do developments.
- Green as it relates to affordable housing – initiatives like meter monitoring.
- The need for banks to establish Sustainable Product teams to focus on new products.
- What should we be doing differently in respect of affordable housing developments in the future?
- For affordable housing developments to be successful in rural areas and the rest of Africa, they need to tap into the culture of the people and embrace what they want.
One disturbing presentation by Nedbank senior economist Nicola Weimar, was that it was a virtual certainty that South Africa would finally be downgraded by ratings agencies. A year ago, this would have been cause for panic, but her view was that the past year had effectively seen downgrading priced into money, the stock market and the rand, so that the actual impact would be minimal. However, there would still be cause for short-term volatility and even a shock fall in the value of the rand, but it would most likely stabilise.