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Developer helps new home buyers access subsidy

MAIN IMAGE: Toni Enderli, property expert

Danie Keet

A property developer is helping South Africans earning under R22 000 a month access an “underutilised” government housing subsidy to assist those wishing to become first-time homeowners.

The government’s Finance Linked Individual Subsidy Programme (FLISP) helps qualifying first-time buyers caught in the “gap” sector — those who historically earned too little to buy property – with financial support.

The FLISP subsidy can assist first-time home buyers to purchase an existing residential property for the first time, to purchase a vacant serviced residential stand linked to house-building contracts. As part of its oversight functions the FLISP only allows builders who are registered with the National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC) to participate in this financing scheme. Property owners can also contract a registered builder to build their new home on an already owned serviced plot.

Rebosa, the South African real estate industry representative, assists many of our previously disadvantaged property practitioner members to obtain housing subsidies for first-time home buyers. Rebosa is proud that their ongoing relationship with the National Housing Finance Corporation has enabled sustainable and affordable first-time homeownership opportunities to many first-time home buyers who without this subsidy would not own a home of their own. Home ownership is possibly one of the greatest methods to bring redress to South African’s who were prohibited from owning property during the reign of the apartheid regime.

To apply for FLISP, prospective buyers must be in the process of purchasing a property. They can also apply if the property was registered in their name in the past 12 months. Any applications after this window period are currently not considered.

The subsidy amount depends on the buyer’s income and ranges between R27 960 to R121 626.

Previously, the maximum threshold was set at R15,000 per month, but thanks to a change in legislation and additional budgetary commitments made by the South African government in July 2018, FLISP is now an option for many more citizens.

There are qualifying criteria which need to be kept in mind when applying for this subsidy. These include:

  • You must be a South African citizen, over the age of 18, and you must be married, cohabiting, or be a single person with a dependent. FLISP aims to enable families to own their own homes.
  • Your bank or financial institution must have already approved you for a home loan. You can’t apply for a FLISP subsidy from the government until you have been approved for a home loan. Of course, applying for a home loan means you’ll need to be credit checked, and agree to all the terms and conditions as set out by your financial institution.
  • Your household income will be analysed in your application for a FLISP subsidy. Your total household income must not exceed R22,000 per month.
  • You cannot have previously benefited from a housing subsidy or government housing programme. For example, if you live in an RDP house, you cannot receive a FLISP subsidy.
  • FLISP is a one-time payment subsidy. You cannot apply for a second FLISP subsidy when you want to purchase a second home.

Property expert Toni Enderli, said FLISP subsidies, combined with the lowest interest rates in 50 years, transfer duty relief and higher home loan rate approvals, mean many families who rent may now be able to buy into the affordable housing bracket for the first time.

Responding to reports of bureaucratic challenges in accessing FLISP subsidies, Enderli says International Housing Solutions (IHS), developers of the entry-level, innovative and eco-friendly, gated community, Ihlathi, in Parklands, Cape Town, has appointed dedicated FLISP agents to help.

“Many who qualify are not accessing FLISP funding due to various challenges. Our FLISP team is helping them buy their first home by taking away the administrative pain,” said Enderli.

Realtor of Excellence’s development sales director, Wayne Lawson, said: “Low interest rates, no transfer duty or fees, higher loan rate approvals, attractive entry-level offerings and FLISP subsidies offer unprecedented opportunities to prospective home buyers.

Monthly repayments for one-bedroom units (priced from R699 999) at Ihlathi are under R5 500 per month, compared to R7 500 a month to rent a similar space. Two-bedroomed units start from R779 999 and three-bedroom units from R1 249 999, he added.

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