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  June 2012
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at Financing Low-cost Housing Africa
  Urban LandMark and FinMark play catalytic role in urban land and housing sectors
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Home » June 2012

Advocacy in action: Urban LandMark and FinMark play catalytic role in urban land and housing sectors by using research to inform policy

FinMark Trust's RDP Assets research project and Urban LandMark's research into Title Deeds Delays investigated, amongst other things, the reasons behind the delays and blockages in issuing title deeds to beneficiaries of housing projects funded by the capital subsidy. The findings of these projects were mentioned in the Department of Human Settlements Budget Vote speech, delivered in Parliament on 9 May 2012.

The research shows that failure to finalise the proclamation of newly developed areas was a major cause for the more than one million subsidy beneficiaries not having received the title deeds to their properties. These findings were initially presented by FinMark Trust and Urban LandMark to MINTOP, the meeting of Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale with top officials in the Department of Human Settlements, in December 2011. The research has now made it into the Department's 2012 Budget Vote. The relevant extract is quoted below:

Asset creation for the working people

a) The Department of Human Settlements is a key player in the property market. A recent study found that of the six million registered residential properties in the Deeds Registry, a total of 1.44 million are government subsidised houses. This represents just less than a quarter (24%) of the total number of registered residential properties. This could increase to 35% if the backlog in issuing title deeds is overcome.

b) The obvious value of a title deed should not be underestimated. It provides the following:
(i) Protection of rights to a property
(ii) Asset security
(iii) Facilitation of entry of ordinary South Africans as players in both the property as well as the financial markets

c) What is least understood and nevertheless a major contribution to asset formation by beneficiaries is that each time government facilitates acquisition of a house, it comes with its own land. To date, land distribution by human settlements is over 78 000 hectares, hence the value of the house is no more just linked to price of the top structure but is inclusive of the total value of the land.