There is an enormous potential for housing microfinance in Tanzania, the Centre for Affordable Housing Finance (CAHF) in Africa indicates in its latest report on Africa’s housing finance markets.
CAHF attributes the potential to the fact that 41% of Tanzanians who borrow microloans plan to use them for housing construction or improvements.
Nonetheless, Tanzania’s mortgage market is among the smallest in the East African region. According to 2014 Findex, only 4.5% of the adults aged 15 years and above report having an outstanding loan to purchase a home.
According to Bank of Tanzania (BOT), the mortgage market recorded an annual growth rate in mortgage loan balances of 45% in 2015.
As at June 30th 2016, total mortgage debt stood at USD219.75m and 3,627 mortgages, compared to December 31st 2015 where the mortgage debt stood at USD164m with 3,390 mortgages.
The average loan size as at June 30th 2016 was USD60,586.93, an increase from December 31st 2015 when the average loan size was USD48 364.06.
Typical rates offered by lenders for mortgage products currently vary between 16% and 19%.
Given affordability levels, the microfinance sector is especially important in addressing housing supply in Tanzania and is growing steadily.
The demand for housing in Tanzania is estimated at 200,000 houses annually, which results in a current housing shortage of 3m houses.
Alternative building materials are being explored as a way to deliver these houses on a rapid scale, according to CAHF.
The Tanzanian housing demand has been boosted by easier access to mortgages, with the number of mortgage lenders in the market increasing from 3 in 2009 to 21 in 2015.
The average mortgage interest rate in Tanzania fell from 22% to 16% during the same period.