The Transaction Support Centre (TSC) is an initiative piloted by the Centre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa (CAFH) and 71point4 who have partnered to explore the factors that make African housing finance work for the poor.

CAFH is an independent think tank in South Africa. It brings information to the market place to enable key stakeholders, such as those in the public and private sector to make policy and investment decisions that will improve access to affordable housing. 71point4, is the current global average life expectancy of 71.4 years. It is a strategic research consultancy that aims to drive change in transformational sectors and, in doing so, contribute to economic development.

The TSC is a action-research initiative in Khayelitsha, located at the Desmond Tutu Sport and Recreation Centre. The objective is to enable households to access formal property rights, and to transact formally via an accessible, affordable mechanism. Home owners in the lower value market (>R300 000) are often unable to access the asset value of their home due to informal sales.

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Once a property has been sold informally, it becomes ‘invisible’ to the formal market, where it is unable to be sold formally until previous informal transactions are regularised. This cycle perpetuates itself as regularising the irregular title is a complicated, time consuming and an expensive process for the individual.

Owning a home is more than just having a place to live, the value of the home is a critical component of household wealth and savings. It is therefore important to be able to transact with it formally as housing needs change over time. Over 60% of the population do not have access to formal property rights despite the available housing stock increasing, which negatively affects inclusive economic development.

Oppenheimer Generations has partnered with CAFH and 71point4 to test the TSC model which provides free, hands-on assistance and advice for individuals looking to regularise their properties, and then to buy and sell residential properties through efficient, safe and legal processes. The pilot aims to identify common problems, explore the mechanisms used to optimise processes and identify systemic constraints that impede formalisation. Once this information has been gathered the goal of the project is to scale the TSC and serve the breadth of South Africa’s affordable housing market by influencing affordable housing policy, optimise municipal and provincial processes and bring private sector providers such as lenders, conveyancers and other service providers into the fold.

Q: How do you feel now that you have got the title deed in your name?

A: Oooooh, I am so so so happy. I can now sleep at night. It was very hard because I would wake up in the middle of the night and get so worried because we thought what would happen should this lady pass on before we change the house. What would become of us? Right now, I am stress free, and I have no problem at all.