Households renting out backyard informal dwellings have increased in huge numbers while those who can afford to stay in rented flats are in deep decline.
This is the finding of the latest South Africa Survey, published by the South African Institute of Race Relations (IRR).
The Survey found that:
• Between 2014 and 2015, the number of households renting flats decreased from 559,000 to 486,000 – that’s down 13%.
• In contrast, those opting for backyard informal dwellings (shacks) rose from 498,000 to 595,000 or by just under 20% during the same period.
IRR housing research analyst Kerwin Lebone saus in light of recent developments, this did not come as a surprise: “Low economic growth, high unemployment, and the risk-profiling of potential tenants by landlords have made the formal rental sector out of reach for many.”
He adds that the average monthly rental price in South Africa of R6,062 as provided by the Tenant Profile Network was way out of reach of the majority of South African households. “The majority of South African households earn an average monthly income of R9,400. Spending 60% of their income on rental accommodation would affect expenditure on other household essentials such as food and transport.”
Lebone acknowledge that the government had delivered affordable rental accommodation through the construction of new buildings and refurbishment of decaying infrastructure. Because flats take up relatively minimal land area compared to other types of residential structures, they are a necessary addition to urban hubs where land is scarce. The challenge is to deliver the rental stock at a faster rate than that of in-migration into urban centres.