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Q: As housing continues to become less affordable for many, what other options could aspiring homeowners explore?

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A: South Africans should make use of the variety of national housing subsidy programmes available to them to help them afford the costs of homeownership.

While the variety of housing subsidies and grants available will not solve this problem on their own, they do offer a solution to a number of South Africans who are struggling to enter the real estate market. The trouble is that too few know about these options or that they qualify for the assistance.

One of these often under-utilised programmes is the Finance Linked Individual Subsidy Programme (Flisp). Households which earn between R3 500 and R22 000 a month can apply for this subsidy. Depending on the applicant’s gross monthly income, the once-off Flisp subsidy qualifying amount varies between R27 960 and R121 626. Successful applicants will receive this money which can be used either as a deposit or to cover transfer and registration fees.

Another possible solution for low-income households is to pool their resources so that they have a greater chance of qualifying for a home loan. To increase their chances of qualifying, buyers can co-apply with a partner or family member. However, this decision should not be undertaken lightly as this means that they will each co-own the property and be responsible for the monthly repayments. Buyers can also purchase a property without a deposit.

For the year ending March 31, 2018, a total of 42.76% of all home loans registered through BetterBond were calculated at 100% of the purchase price. Absa even offers a Young Professionals Home Loan of up to 105% for a property valued at R1.5 million or less. The extra 5% helps homeowners afford the registration costs and transfer duties. – Adrian Goslett, chief executive, Re/Max of Southern Africa 

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