South African real estate companies have moved into a territory virtually untouched: shantytowns. Built by apartheid leaders in the '60s and '70s to push aside the country's black and mixed-race people, these slums have been slowly evolving into vibrant economies, with increasing amounts of local retail and infrastructure improvements. Shacks no bigger than a common bathroom are drawing in tens of purchase offers and netting anywhere from $20,000 to $100,000. Facing high unemployment and an even higher housing demand, the South Africa government has kicked up efforts and shone new light on an all-but ignored housing market.
"Spurred by government pressure â€" and the profit motive â€" South Africa's four big banks are entering the low-income market in earnest, offering home-loan packages for poor households and financing malls and other retail ventures in long-ignored areas."
"The national government has also weighed in. After building thousands of free one- and two-room corrugated-roof homes for the homeless, it has arranged to free up billions in low-cost home loans to the three citizens in four who earn less than about $500 a month."