The housing sector is critical and ranks highly on the government’s development agenda at the moment. It has been one of the main objectives of the first three National Development Plans and has been reaffirmed in the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP). The HPP is rested upon four pillars which include a pillar on social progression. As a sub-pillar, government plans to fast-track the delivery of urban land servicing and housing. This stance is informed by the following background:
Namibia currently has a deficit of affordable serviced land and housing. A limited supply of new property in urban centres has resulted in a sizable shortfall of formal housing. The supply shortage has led to increases in house prices, especially in urban areas. Constrained supply and high prices of houses mean that many families that would otherwise be willing and able to afford formal housing are unable to do so, and are only able to find shelter in informal settlements.
The shortfall fundamentally results from many years of undersupply coupled with unyielding demand levels. Between 1993 and 2010 (17 years), the National Housing Enterprise (NHE) delivered about 8000 houses, thereby averaging at about 470 houses per year. This is far below the annual target of 1200 houses required to clear the backlog in the country.
Among other factors, demand is driven by the country’s increasing population and the steady economic growth recorded over the years. With economic growth, income levels have also risen in relative terms thereby making it possible for many people to be willing and able to buy houses.