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From counting houses, to making houses count: Publicly available administrative data on subsidised housing

Centre for Affordable Housing Finance (CAHF)


Administrative data and annual reports

Review and appraisal of existing data


The South African government’s subsidy housing programme is one of its most visible and theoretically enumerable programmes. CAHF commissioned research to assess the quality of data on the supply of subsidised housing as part of a broader project that explores existing and proposed performance metrics for the State’s subsidy housing programme. The primary aim of the project was to understand what data is published by the various entities that oversee the programme, and compare their data across the housing supply chain.


The research reviewed data on subsidy housing sourced from the NHBRC, National Treasury, the National Department of Human Settlements, and CAHF’s Citymark database. These different sources speak to different phases of the housing supply chain, from starts to completions, title deed registrations, and resale market activity.

The team assessed the quality of these data by looking at the frequency of revisions to the data as well as the coherence of data along the housing supply chain. This assessment identifies areas for improvement in the quality of subsidised housing data, and by implication, the way the programme is administered.


The research highlights the importance of triangulating administrative data on housing delivery, and notes the significant discrepancies between subsidy starts, completions, and registrations between 2008 and 2018. On average, the number of completed units exceeded housing starts by about 100 000 between 2008/09 and 2017/18 while registrations accounted for no more than 20% of the units delivered.

The analysis also argues for the inclusion of resale metrics as tracked by CAHF in assessing of the performance of the housing subsidy programme. These include transaction prices, churn rates (the percentage of properties that transact in a given year) and mortgage lending.

Project resources


From counting houses to making houses count



Publicly available administrative data on subsidised housing

Blog post


SA has no reliable data on subsidised housing

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