Sub-Saharan Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa is among the world’s fastest growing regions with a GDP growth of 4.7 percent in 2013, compared to 3.7 percent in 2012.Robust growth was seen in Nigeria,Ghana, Liberia,Mozambique,Tanzania,and Zambia.Nigeria’s GDP growth increased to 5.4 percent from 4.27 percent in 2012, while South Africa’s growth rate decreased to 1.9 percent in 2013, down from 3.6 percent in 2011.Importantly,GDP per capita in current USD has grown in all of Sub-Saharan Africa,with the exception of South Africa and Cape Verde.A steady decrease of the average inflation rate, from 10.1 percent in 2011 to 6.07 percent in 2013, is another positive economic indicator.Sub-Sahara’s urbanization level was 37 percent of total population at the end of 2013; only South Africa, Botswana and Cape Verde have urbanization levels above 60 percent.2

However, with 48.5 percent of the population living on less than $1.25 a day, Sub-Saharan Africa is still the poorest region in the world. Persistent low-income levels and poor access to financial services, have resulted in an extremely low percentage of adults that have credit outstanding – only around 5 percent of adults as of 2011.3 Housing finance in Sub-Saharan Africa is still at a very nascent stage. The amount of mortgage loans outstanding for the region was below 5 percent of GDP at the end of 2013. South Africa, Cape Verde and Namibia are the only countries with a mortgage sector larger than 17 percent of the GDP. Maximum Loan to Value ratios (LTV) for mortgages average 80 percent for the region, with only two countries exceeding that ratio -- South Africa and Cape Verde allow LTVs as high as 100.

Financial institutions depend on customer deposits as the main source of funding for their mortgage portfolios. Lack of access to longer-term funds and institutional and legal constraints such as difficulties in obtaining title registration on properties and cumbersome eviction procedures in case of default, have all restrained the growth of the mortgage sector.  The perceived high credit risk, high transaction costs and the lack of competition in the banking sector in most Sub-Saharan African countries have resulted in high margins and extremely high interest rates for mortgages, reaching upwards from 25 percent in some countries.4

In addition, very few financial institutions have developed non-collateralized loan products for housing. The products that are offered carry extremely high interest rates and have a short term, making them only feasible for gradual construction and home improvement.

There are, however, positive signs as well, including the establishment of the Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Corporation (NMRC) in 2014, and the reform of the Tanzania Mortgage Refinance Corporation. South Africa is beginning to address constraints in the expansion of its lower-middle income housing and mortgage market through reforms of its subsidy system. These efforts are critical in order to address the growing demand for urban housing. 


  1. World Economic Outlook, IMF.
  2. The World Bank
  3. Global Findex Database, 2013
  4. HOFINET data. 


African Union for Housing Finance

FinMark Trust

AUHF Annual Conference

Centre for Affordable Housing in Africa

2020 Yearbook: Housing Finance in Africa

African Economic Outlook Country Notes 

FINDEX 2014: Understanding Housing Finance Inclusion in Africa

Regional Documents:

  Date Published Title Author
May 2019Does Interest Rate Controls Work? Evidence From KenyaBenedict Clements
2019Are they Really Being Served? Assessing Effective Infrastructure Access and Quality in 15 Kenyan CitiesSumila Gulyani
August 2018Taxation and Affordable Housing in AfricaJames Mutero
2017Sub-Saharan Africa Funding Chart
2017Urbanization and Industrialization: For Africa's TransformationUnited Nations Economic Commission for Africa
2017Residential REITs and Their Potential to Increase Investment In and Access to Affordable Housing in AfricaNadia Kruger-Levy and Andreas Bertoldi
2017The Africa Competitiveness Report 2017
July 2016Tanzania Article IV Report 2016IMF
March 31, 2016Tanzania Mortgage Market Update - 31 March 2016Tanzania Mortgage Refinance Company
2016Cost of a House in AfricaOlivia Caldwell
2016Africa's Cities: Opening Doors to the WorldSomik Vinay Lall, J. Vernon Henderson, and Anthony J. Venables
2016Effect of Nigerian Mortgage Institutions on Semi-Urban Housing Development in Ogun State, NigeriaAkinyede O.M.
2015CAHF Yearbook 2015Centre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa
2015Financial Inclusion and Development in the CEMAC Adrian Alter and Boriana Yontcheva
2014Credit Quality in Developing Economies: Remittances to the Rescue?Christian Ebeke
2014Islamic Finance in Sub-Saharan Africa: Status and ProspectsEnrique Gelbard
2013Bond Markets in AfricaEugenio Cerutti
2013Determinants of Bank Interest Margins in Sub-Saharan AfricaCalixte Ahokpossi
2013State of Housing Microfinance in AfricaMichael Kihato
2013Is Urbanization in Sub-Saharan Africa Different?J. Vernon Henderson
2013Tanzania Mortgage Market Update Bank of Tanzania
2013Jordan Financial Sector Review: Real Estate Section, IMF 2013IMF
2013Housing Finance in Africa 2013 YearbookCentre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa
2012Assessing Bank Competition within the East African CommunitySarah Sanya
2012Scaling Up Housing Finance in AfricaMarja Hoek-Smit
20122012 Yearbook: Housing Finance in AfricaCentre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa; FinMark Trust
2012Financing Growth in the WAEMU Through the Regional Securities Market: Past Successes and Current ChallengesMame Astou Diouf
2012The African Growth MiracleAlwyn Young
2012The East African Community: Prospects for Sustained GrowthCatherine McAuliffe
2012Assessing Bank Competition within the East African CommunitySarah Sanya
2011International Capital Flows and House Prices: Theory and EvidenceJack Favilukis
2011Statement by the Members of the African Union for Housing Finance at Their Annual Meeting in Johannesburg, South AfricaAUHF
2011Housing Finance in Africa: A review of some of Africa’s housing finance marketsCentre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa
2011Stimulating Investment in Neighborhood Economies, Infrastructure and HousingUN Habitat
2011Growth in Africa Under Peace and Market ReformsGonzalo Salinas, Cheikh Gueye, and Olessia Korbut
2011Africa Business
2011Quick Guide 5: Housing FinanceEdgar Pieterse
2011Financial Deepening, Property Rights and Poverty: Evidence from Sub-Saharan AfricaRaju Jan Singh
2011Central banking in Africa: prospects in a changing worldDubravko Mihaljek
2011The Role of Islamic Finance in Enhancing Financial Inclusion in Organization of Islamic Cooperation(OIC) CountriesMohmoud Mohieldin
2011A Resource Guide to Housing in South Africa 1994-2010Kate Tissington
20102010 Yearbook: Housing Finance in AfricaCentre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa; FinMark Trust
2010Lions on the move: The progress and potential of African economiesMcKinsey Global Institute
2010Africa's Urban Land Markets: Piecing Together an Economic PuzzleUrban LandMark & UN-Habitat
2010Mobilising Pension Assets for Housing Finance Needs in Africa – Experiences and Prospects in East AfricaDr. James Mutero
2010Sub-Saharan Africa Bank Branches per 100,000 AdultsCGAP Financial Assess
20102010 WAEMU Microfinance Analysis & Benchmarking ReportMicrofinance Information Exchange
2010Mobilising pension assets for housing finance needs in Africa - Experiences and prospects in East AfricaJames Mutero
2009Mobilising pension assets for housing needs - experiences in southern AfricaRyan Short
2008Development of Appropriate Housing Finance Products to Support Upgrading ActivitiesRichard Martin
2007Financial Services and Usage in Southern and East Africa: What Do Finscope Surveys Tell Us?Bankable Frontier Associates
2007Etude du Financement du Logement Dans Les Pays de I'uemoaGilles Horenfeld
2006Making Finance Work for AfricaThe World Bank
2006Africa's Urban Land Markets: Piecing Together an Economic PuzzleUrban LandMark, UN Habitat
2002Urban Upgrading in Africa: A Summary of Rapid Assessments in Ten CountriesSumila Gulyani & Genevieve Connors
1993Housing Markets in Swaziland: Update of the 1988 Urban Housing and Household SurveyMarja Hoek-Smit
2014 Yearbook - Housing Finance in AfricaCentre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa; FinMark Trust
CAHF Yearbook 2018Centre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa