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Inaugural Residential Investment & Development Conference to address SA’s critical housing & accommodation shortage

South Africa’s first and only multi-sector residential investment and development conference and exhibition has been launched in response to the country’s massive housing shortage and high urbanisation rate, according to the organisers.

Hosted by SmartXchange (a division of Commerce Edge South Africa), the event will bring together the entire residential value chain to share knowledge, collaborate and do business. Expanding on the pressing need for this gathering, SmartXchange chairperson and CEO Debbie Tagg says: “South Africa has a massive housing shortage and one of the highest urbanisation rates among emerging economies across the world. 63% of South Africans are already living in urban areas and this will rise to 71% by 2030. By 2050, eight in ten people will be living in urban areas. There are currently more than 3 300 informal settlements in South Africa.”

The Social Housing Regulatory Authority (SHRA) which administers the government’s social housing program is targeting the delivery of 18 000 social housing units by 2024. Social housing is effectively the rental equivalent of gap housing and directly addresses the accommodation needs of the ‘missing middle who are unable to access mortgage facilities through the government assisted FLISP programme. Marius Muller, managing director of specialist social housing company SoHo Properties, is quoted as saying that “the provision of social housing has become a critical element in alleviating the housing needs of the country and transitioning a large portion of the population from rental accommodation towards home ownership”.

On the student accommodation front, there is currently a conservatively estimated capacity gap of 500 000 beds,” Tagg notes. “In the last two years (2020, 2021), NSFAS spent an average R11.9 billion per annum on student accommodation funding. At least 420 000 students each year are in university and TVET accommodation. Out of this, approximately 43% was for institutional residences and 57% was for private accommodation.”

Tagg stresses that there is a growing imperative to galvanise social and affordable housing to produce the vast quantity of accommodation needed to alleviate the shortages.

The conference will see government agencies, asset managers, operating entities, investors, brokers, banks, consultants, and service providers come together to unpack new opportunities in the social and affordable housing, student, retirement, co-living and multi-family residential spaces. It will feature practical case studies, roundtable discussions and keynote presentations from global and local experts and thought leaders, benefitting all levels of audience.

She explains that the event’s key objectives are to enable private role players to achieve “housing for all’; to slash the development cost in the South African economy; to boost the state’s capacity to fast-track project approvals and policy implementation; to formalise the industry value chain and eco system; to unlock equity and debt funding; and to mitigate risk by unpacking and examining risk and pricing models.

The Residential Investment & Development Conference will take place on the 12th and 13th of July 2023 at Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

Current event partners include SoHo Properties, iKhaya Future House, Enza Construction, Triple 3 Group, Take Shape Property Management, Venator, EnPointe Properties, Property Wheel, SAACPP, GreenStuff, SA Building Review, SA Business Integrator and SA Profile.