Business Report - Mass housing ready to hit boom times

Business Report - Mass housing ready to hit boom times

Pretoria - Despite billions being pumped into the construction of low-cost housing, the backlog persists at close to 2 million units, says Industry Insight, the construction industry information supplier.However, there has been an improvement in the percentage of people living in informal dwellings, according to the firm's fourth-quarter report on the state of the South African construction industry.It says the policies applied so far have not helped the broad mass of people. The housing needs of low- to middle-income home buyers were often ignored by developers in the recent boom period.However, it says the low-cost and affordable housing sector may yet boom while the traditional residential market is experiencing a slump.It says R39.32 billion of the government's R372 billion five-year infrastructure budget was allocated to this sector.Industry Insight predicts that civil investment will rise by an average of 15.6 percent over the next four years, pushing overall investment in civil works to more than R200 billion during this period.Investment growth through government-initiated projects is expected to surpass private sector investment, particularly with projects like the Gautrain and those of parastatals. Provincial and local government corruption remains a key concern, the report says.The report stresses that the dilemma of skills shortages in the industry cannot be resolved with any quick interventions, considering the three-decade recession from which the construction industry has just emerged.

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