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Good housing improves occupants' lives

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02 May 2012

More than 50 percent of South African households report an improvement in access to education and employment from the property they live in.

IHS housing development in Jabulani Soweto.

This is according to a report conducted by University of Cape Town associate professor Francois Viruly and his team.

The report audited the social and economic impact of affordable housing developments commissioned by International Housing Solutions (IHS), a global private equity investor, which has financed projects to a combined total value of more than R7.8 billion.

IHS recently completed an upmarket affordable residential development in the suburb of Jabulani in Soweto, Gauteng.

Read the article here.

Viruly says the research was undertaken to determine the indirect benefits derived from living in integrated affordable housing developments and the job creation impact of such developments.

He explains that the research surveyed residents occupying IHS developments in Johannesburg including Fleurhof and Protea Glen in Soweto, Jukskei View in Midrand, Greatermans in the Johannesburg CBD, Aengus in Johannesburg and Stellendale Village in Kuilsriver in the Western Cape.

Regarding the social impact of IHS developments, which are all designed to ensure healthy, integrated communities rather than just to provide dwellings, Viruly notes that residents surveyed reported an improvement in the quality of life for children, health and housing.

Of the residents interviewed, 34 percent owned the properties they lived in while 66 percent were renting.

The report revealed that 52 percent of residents were aged between 20 and 29 years, 46 percent were males, 61 percent single, 32 percent married and 56 percent had children.

Households also placed much emphasis on security, distance to place of employment, access to friends and family, access to social and recreational amenities and professional management of units in which they live.

Viruly says 65 percent of these residents were employed, 6 percent unemployed and 6 percent were self-employed

He notes that residents occupying these units are an emerging middle class looking for affordable decent housing and not just RDP houses.

Eighty percent of the residents surveyed had a tertiary education, 13 percent Grade 12 and 3 percent had Grade 8 and more but less than Grade 12 qualifications.

Viruly points out the survey indicates that 68 percent of residents surveyed fall under the GAP housing market earning more than R7 500 a month.

Eleven percent of residents surveyed earned between R6 501 and R7 500 a month, 4 percent between R4 501 and R6 500, 3 percent R3 501 and R4 500, 5 percent R2 501 and R3 500 and 9 percent earned less than R2 500.

Of the residents surveyed, almost 80 percent were satisfied with the units they occupy with regards to easy access to public transport nodes.

Safety and security, neighbourhood, proximity to work, and access to schools was also high on the list of what residents indicated as important when choosing a property to buy or rent.

Viruly says 70 percent of residents felt that quality of life for their children had improved resulting from good and well located property.

When looking at improvements in lifestyle of the residents, Viruly points out that quality of life of children ranked high followed by health, housing, social life, leisure, education, employment, sports and monthly income.

“The report shows that quality and well located housing can have a profound effect on the access that households have to social amenities and overall welfare.”

Viruly notes that the provision of housing goes beyond the provision of shelter and the challenge in South Africa is to create a property market that gives people a choice from location to price and other social aspects and not just a one size fits all kind of housing.

Households also placed much emphasis on security, distance to place of employment, access to friends and family, access to social and recreational amenities and professional management of units in which they live.

“Developers and users agree that the units have had a positive impact on the neighbourhood safety and security,” says Viruly.

He adds that the developments surveyed provide benefits that go well beyond the mere provision of housing, but rather are playing an important role in creating sustainable human settlements. – Denise Mhlanga

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