The impact of the National Credit Act, 2005 on the affordability of home loans in Pinetown
Sewnunan, Teshani Devi
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The National Credit Act No. 34 of 2005 (NCA) was introduced by the South African government mainly to bring about accessibility to credit markets, protect consumers from malpractices and market abuses by credit providers and reduce consumer over indebtedness. As a result, credit providers are compelled to apply stringent rules and regulations when assessing a credit consumer’s affordability prior to granting home loans. This study aims at investigating the impact of the NCA on the affordability of home loans within the Pinetown metropolitan area. The literature review presents an overall view of affordability of home loans in developed and emerging countries and also provides an in-depth explanation of factors that affect affordability of home loans in South Africa. The predominant factors, amongst others that hinder the housing market, are: an increase in house prices; elevated interest rates and household debt which include inflation, transportation cost and low wage increase. A mixed methods approach was utilized for the research, analyzing both quantitative and qualitative data. Respondents (home loan borrowers) completed a questionnaire by indicating if assessments were conducted in terms of their affordability prior to the approval of their home loan and their view on the impact that the NCA had on their home loan. The data suggested strongly that credit providers had conducted proper credit and affordability assessments prior to granting home loans and that most home loan borrowers’ level of debt had remained stable since acquiring their home loans as they continue to meet their debts. An overall analysis revealed that the application of the NCA had a positive impact on the affordability of home loans in the research area and that compliance with NCA, when granting credit, resulted in the reduction of reckless lending, a decline in the level of consumer indebtedness and a reduction in payment default.