Low-income home ownership in the post-colonial city: A case study of Harare, Zimbabwe.
Mutsindikwa, Nyasha T.
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Homeownership, as a form of housing tenure, is associated with social, political and economic benefits. These benefits are the reasons why most governments prefer it. The promotion of homeownership among low-income groups has sparked debate among scholars with some supporting it while others being against the idea. The study provides evidence about the benefits and risks of low-income homeownership in Zimbabwe as a developing country. It investigates whether and to what extent, the benefits and risks of homeownership are experienced by low-income households. Using purposive sampling, the study focused on five selected low-income suburbs in Harare which are Glen-Norah, Highfield, Mufakose, Mabvuku and Tafara. The study utilised both quantitative (questionnaire survey) and qualitative (key informant interviews, in-depth interviews, Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) and observations) tools to gather data from the field. Textual analysis and Statistical Package for Social Scientists (SPSS) were used to analyse the data. Findings reveal that most organisations or institutions in the housing sector in Zimbabwe are in support of low-income homeownership policy as they believe that the benefits associated with ownership can also be realised by low-income homeowners. Though some households are facing financial challenges in coping with the demands of ownership, low-income homeowners in the study areas seem to be satisfied with homeownership as they are deriving some benefits from owning houses. Freedom to make decisions about their houses and personal satisfaction were some of the benefits cited by the homeowners. Taking in lodgers has been found to be the prime source of financial benefits being realised by low-income homeowners. With the majority of the homeowners being unemployed, a house is an invaluable asset for urban low-income households as it is used as a means of earning a living. However, from these findings it can be concluded that the freedoms that low-income homeowners have has resulted in the increase of informal activities in low-income residential areas and in some cases depriving the responsible authorities of revenue and taxes. Despite the houses being designed for single families, the taking in of lodgers is an indication that some low-income homeowners are finding it difficult to sustain homeownership and also a sign that a ready market for rental housing does exist, hence the need to review the housing policy so that public low-income rental housing be promoted in urban areas. The study also recommends further investigation on lodging practices in urban areas as this will augment understanding of the housing challenges being faced in Harare.
Additional Citation InformationMutsindikwa, N. (2020). Low-income home ownership in the post-colonial city: A case study of Harare, Zimbabwe. [Unpublished doctoral thesis]. University of Zimbabwe.
University of Zimbabwe