‘Af­ford­abil­ity’ def­i­ni­tion should dif­fer from city to city

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PROPERTY -

1. Un­lock po­ten­tial bulk on ex­ist­ing sites;

2. Add 20% more apart­ments (these will fall un­der the more af­ford­able houses) to the orig­i­nal scheme;

3. The plan­ning and build­ing costs, among others, of this 20% will now be sub­sidised by the now 80% of the to­tal de­vel­op­ment.

Fataar says: “Rather than wait­ing on the for­mu­la­tion of a per­fect pol­icy, we need to lead with pilot projects and learn from projects that go be­yond busi­ness-as-usual and feed these learn­ings into our poli­cies.”

Blok’s 80:20 inclusionary hous­ing model, Forty on L, is cur­rently be­ing pi­loted in Cape Town. Man­ag­ing direc­tor Jac­ques van Emb­den be­lieves it could pro­vide a “ground- A HUR­DLE to the suc­cess of inclusionary hous­ing de­liv­ery is the def­i­ni­tion of “af­ford­abil­ity”, which Fu­ture Cape Town’s Rashiq Fataar says needs to be re­fined.

“A blan­ket def­i­ni­tion of af­ford­able hous­ing tends to be used but this def­i­ni­tion does not re­flect the price gra­di­ent of hous­ing across cities.

“We need to de­fine af­ford­abil­ity in re­la­tion to the me­dian in­come of an area as well as the me­dian value per square me­tre. We can­not con­tinue us­ing the same break­ing tem­plate for fu­ture in­clu­sive de­vel­op­ment in the city”.

How­ever, he says it is im­por­tant to note the com­pany’s model is low base for af­ford­abil­ity for ev­ery area in a city.”

To il­lus­trate this, he ex­plains: “What do we mean by af­ford­able hous­ing in well­lo­cated ar­eas like the Cape Town CBD? While costs and in­ter­est rates in­crease per an­num, no re­view is be­ing done each year that broad­ens the clas­si­fi­ca­tion of in­come bands in need of some form of as­sis­tance, be it through the public or pri­vate sec­tor.

“We also need to ac­knowl­edge that cities in South Africa are dif­fer­ent; for based on the per­ceived needs of the lo­cal mar­ket and there­fore pri­mar­ily caters for the mid­dle-in­come mar­ket. ex­am­ple, land is much more ex­pen­sive in Cape Town than other cities in South Africa, which has a sig­nif­i­cant bear­ing on lev­els of af­ford­abil­ity.”

The City of Jo­han­nes­burg de­fines “low-mid­dle” as house­hold in­comes of less than R7 000 a month. Its inclusionary hous­ing pro­posal stip­u­lates that rentals, in­clud­ing levies, but ex­clud­ing util­ity bills, like elec­tric­ity, may not ex­ceed R2 100 a month. The ceil­ing of R2 100 is based on 30% of a house­hold in­come of R7 000.

De­vel­op­ers, says Em­den, have a role to play in con­tribut­ing to­wards a more in­te­grated, di­verse, and sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment tra­jec­tory.

Blok’s Forty on L de­vel­op­ment ini­tially planned to pro­vide ur­ban apart­ments for the mid­dle-in­come mar­ket us­ing the 80:20 model. How­ever, fol­low­ing ex­ten­sive con­sul­ta­tion with in­dus­try professionals and feed­back from stake­hold­ers, this was amended to a “one-forone”ba­sis, which means that for ev­ery square me­tre of inclusionary hous­ing added, the de­vel­oper can add a square me­tre to the orig­i­nal scheme.

The City of Cape Town’s Brett Her­ron, may­oral com­mit­tee mem­ber for Trans­port and Ur­ban De­vel­op­ment, says there is an obli­ga­tion on the City and on the pri­vate sec­tor to en­sure the in­ner-city and other CBDs are ac­ces­si­ble and af­ford­able to those still liv­ing on the pe­riph­ery.


Clear ob­jec­tives and tar­gets are needed to ad­dress apartheid spa­cial plan­ning and de­velop inclusionary hous­ing.

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