Nam youth financially dependent on parents until 27

Salomo Hei

Researchers have revealed a damning actuality – that the average young Namibian is financially dependent on their parents at least until the age of 27 and are unable to afford property.

This is why many Namibians are buying property when they are way older.

Economists are blaming land prices and average salaries as the root causes of this phenomenon.

These revelations are part of the newly released Simonis Storm Securities report, titled ‘Namibia’s Property and Housing Market Overview’, which tracked the performance of Namibia’s property sector since independence in 1990.

“In our modern age, young people are marrying at a later age, and given the high youth unemployment rate, this has led to a number of young people not being able to purchase houses, and so live with their parents or rent a house with their friends,” the report reads.

The report notes that the average house price has increased by 1 250% between January 1990 and March 2023.

This implies that average house prices in Namibia are currently 13 times the average house price of 33 years ago.

The average salary has also not kept an appropriate pace with in-pocket inflation or house price increases, and this has eaten into affordability.

According to the report, the inability to afford a house is supported by the United Nations, which estimates that the average young Namibian is financially dependent on their parents at least until the age of 27.

“This can increase beyond 30 years of age if youth unemployment is not addressed soon,” reads the report.

Property agent Aina Sheya says it is indeed true that many people buying property are older.

“Especially women,” she says.

She says, however, it is not only through marriage that the cost of a house can be shared.

“Friends can buy a house together. They can actually buy property in a group of five or seven people. This could even end up cheaper on transfer costs,” Sheya says.

Namibia is a renters’ market, with a number of complexes and backyard bachelors flats, which Simonis Storm says is due to affordability.

After South Africa and Algeria, the average age of men and women when they first get married is the highest in Namibia on the African continent, according to United Nations and World Bank surveys, the analysts say.

“It can also be that this behavioural factor leads young people to postpone buying a house.

“Two salaries are always better than one. Housing transactions are therefore more likely to be driven by older Namibians,” the report reads.

High Economics Intelligence head of research Salomo Hei says the cost of land and the average salary definitely diminish the affordability of houses by young people – especially for first-time buyers.

“The average house price is just not affordable by the average young person. And it is mainly because of land.

“If we can find a way to reduce the price of land, especially considering that it remains an idefinete earning asset for the municipality through rates and taxes, we could work on the affordability,” he says.

Twitter: @Lasarus_A

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