11 Jun 2013
When independent mortgage provider, SA Home Loans launched back in 1999, taking on the established banks that had until then dominated the home loans market, it quickly earned a reputation as a consumer champion, thanks to its competitive interest rates and excellent service.
Sixteen years later, the upstart has grown into South Africa’s biggest non-bank specialist home loan provider and it is making waves again, this time with its entry into the affordable housing market.
SA Home Loans Chief Executive, Kevin Penwarden, says the move was welcome news for house hunters earning less than R18 000 per month and showed that the company hadn't lost sight of its origins as a customer-focused alternative to the big banks.
He says they’re delighted to announce their entry into this fast growing market. “Now, lower income earners have access to the same innovative, consumer-friendly approach to mortgage lending that's helped more than 150 000 individuals and families purchase their own homes.”
Penwarden says affordable housing is an important segment of the South African housing market, with properties valued between R250 000 and R500 000 making up more than a quarter of all registered residential properties.
Despite this, he says there's still a massive shortage of decent affordable housing. It’s not as though the banks haven’t been in this market already, it’s just that when they did their research they realised how badly they were doing and that’s when they saw their gap, he says.
For many first-time buyers, trying to get a home loan from one of the banks is a bureaucratic nightmare, he says, but it doesn't have to be that way. As with its other customers, SA Home Loans offers its affordable housing customers all the information they need in simple, everyday English, Zulu, Sotho and Afrikaans.
Penwarden says they pride themselves on treating their customers like individuals, not numbers. He says they keep them informed through every step of the application process and are always on hand to answer questions in their language of choice.
Mindful of the fact that many lower income buyers battle to save up for the large deposits required for many mortgages, SA Home Loans is offering 100 percent loans to qualifying customers, with a 20 year term variable interest rate loan. It has also reduced its minimum property size to take into account smaller properties.
Penwarden says their research and experience has shown them that home buyers, whether they're in the market for a R250 000 starter house or a R5 million home, want to be treated with openness, friendliness and respect.
“With our entry into the affordable housing market we're looking forward to sharing the stories of a whole new generation of customers as they tell us how excited they are about owning their first home.”
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