Mortgages play a critical role. Aside from supporting housing affordability and enabling the performance of housing markets, they facilitate leveraged asset ownership, offering a pathway to wealth building for those who have limited capital. While SA’s residential mortgages by value account for over half the value of credit extended to households, there are relatively few mortgage loans outstanding. According to the National Credit Regulator (NCR), there are 1.72-million open mortgage accounts in the country. In contrast, deeds office data indicates there are roughly 6.2-million formally registered, or potentially mortgageable residential properties that offer scope for growth. The mortgage book has shown no growth in real terms since 2008, and the number of accounts has declined marginally since 2007. The mortgage activity that does occur is limited to a narrow market that is, on its own, unlikely to grow significantly. In total, lenders granted 153,467 mortgages across the whole c...

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