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Hundreds of affordable 'gap' houses to be developed soon

by Martin Pollack
on 14 Oct 2010
City of Cape Town
City of Cape Town

A total of 199 'gap' housing rental units in Elsies River will become available from November. The units were originally offered for sale at a starting price from R237 000 per unit, but due to a slow take up, it was decided to offer some of them for rental.

The Leo Mews and Avon Gardens developments form part of a groundbreaking 'gap' housing programme launched by the City of Cape Town four years ago to develop affordable housing on City-owned land in partnership with Standard Bank and Nedbank.

In respect of the Elsies River projects, the City made the land available to Standard Bank, which then partnered with Bitol Development to build 'gap' houses.

"The primary target for 'gap' houses are households earning between R3 500 and R10 000 per month. In this segment of the market, demand for affordable housing far outstrips supply," says Cllr Shehaam Sims, Mayoral Committee Member for Housing.

"Although aspirant 'gap' home buyers have been hemmed in by the National Credit Act, innovative approaches to finance and construction have resulted in the delivery of the latest two developments," she says.

Avon Gardens, with 74 rental units, will be completed at the end of November, while Leo Mews, with 125 rental units, will be ready in December. The development at Leo Mews won an award from the South African Housing Foundation for Sustainable and Innovative Design for Affordable Housing.

Both developments consist of a combination of two-bedroom apartments, measuring between 45 sq m and 66 sq m in size. Each unit is fitted with solar water heating.

"As a result of these developments, the surrounding areas of Elsies River have been uplifted, and surrounding properties and businesses have been refurbished and landscaped. The community also benefitted from local job creation and training throughout the duration of the projects," says Cllr Sims.

The planned development of another four 'gap' housing projects delivering 1 200 units in Hanover Park, Kensington, Maitland and Kraaifontein over the next 24 months is expected to commence shortly.

"People who earn between R6 500, the lowest amount the banks are likely to consider for a loan, and R10 000 per month would qualify to buy units in these developments," says Cllr Sims.

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