Unveiling Housing Value Dynamics in South Africa’s Townships: A Deep Dive into GeoScope’s KasiGHS 2022 Data

Using AfricaScope’sKasiGHS 2022 data that originates from Statistics South Africa, one can see some interesting trends. Houses with values less than R50k are significantly more in townships than non-township areas. However, household values in the R50-R250k range are higher in the non-township areas, which is interesting because houses in the next two categories of R250k -R1mil range are higher in the township areas. From housing values of greater than R1mil, there is a significant difference with non-township areas having significantly higher percentages and numbers of houses. There are over 364,000 houses in this value range in townships with over 1.8 mil in non-township areas.

The question then becomes – where does one find these 364,000 township houses? Soweto has over 300,000 (82%) of them with the townships of Alexandra, Tembisa, Mamelodi and Katlehong in Gauteng having over 100,000 each.Townships in other provinces with between 50, 000 – 100,00 houses with values of R1mill or more include Khayelitsha (Cape Town), Mangaung (Free State), KwaGuqa (Mpumalanga) and Umlazi (eThekweni). Umlazi has houses of higher value then other townships in eThekweni which is substantiated by them having higher levels of self-proclaimed wealth. Compared to KwaMashu, they have 23% indicating that they have houses with values in excess of R1.5 mil compared to none in the former township.

The Circle Point Analysis shows these trends using this qualitative method. Looking at the points inside the boundaries of the townships in the map below, it can be seen that there are more points in R2 mil plus group in Umlazi compared to any other township in eThekweni. In KwaMashu there is a dominance of houses in the R50-R250k group, while in Phoenix it is in the R500-R1000k range. Accessibility to places of employment in commercial and industrial areas remains a critical factor in defining where people live as well as their wealth status. Greater access to places of employment enables them to generate better income and with more disposable income, to upgrade their houses. People living in the traditional rural areas generally have houses valued at less than R50,000 while in the suburban areas houses range from R1.5 – R3mil in Durban.

GeoScope’s KasiGHS 2022 data illustrates three key insights into the dynamics of housing value in townships. Firstly, there is a stark contrast in housing values between townships and non-township areas, especially in the lowest and highest housing value categories. Using Circle Point Analysis reveals localized pockets of affluence, notably exemplified by Soweto that contains 82% of high value houses in South African townships. It also underscores that high-value homes are concentration within specific townships and sections. Lastly, accessibility to economic hubs is a key factor in shaping housing value patterns and wealth distribution in townships. Overall, the KasiGHS and Circle Point Analysis paints a nuanced picture of township housing value dynamics, characterized by disparities, localized affluence, and the influence of accessing economic opportunities.

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