The housing careers of black middle-class residents in a South African metropolitan area
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Under apartheid, black African households could not own land or homes in most major urban centres in South Africa. This limited residential mobility and locked many households into state rental accommodation in townships. Homeownership for all South Africans was restored in the mid-1980 s and the Group Areas Act was repealed in 1991. Democracy opened up economic opportunities previously unavailable to black people. This paper investigates the effect on black middle-class South African households’ residential mobility and housing careers. A retrospective cross-sectional survey of 244 such homeowners in the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality determined their last five housing states. Changes in housing state indicated a steady improvement in housing quality, but tenure changes were not necessarily unidirectional—some had reverted to rental. More than 85% of the study participants had used mortgages to finance their housing career. Very few had financed their housing using own savings, an inheritance, or sale of a previous house, and not many had used the government subsidy. We found that housing careers are bridging the historical spatial racial divide in this municipality.
KeywordsBlack middle class Housing careers Housing quality Housing states South Africa
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