Posted: 26 January 2008

Here are some basic facts on housing taken from the UN Commission on Human Settlements (Habitat) State of the World's Cities Report 2001:

  • 75 per cent of the world's countries have constitutions or national laws that promote the full and progressive realisation of the right to adequate housing.

  • 61 per cent of countries in the world have constitutions of national laws that protect against enforced evictions.

  • Households in cities of developing countries need an average of 8 times their annual income to buy a house; in Africa, they need an average of 12.5 times their annual income, while in Latin America, then only need 5.4 times their annual income.

  • The highest rents are in the Arab States, where a household spends an average of 45 per cent of its monthly income on rent.

  • One out of every four countries in the developing world have constitutions or national laws which prevent women from owning land and/or taking mortgages in their own names. Customary or legal constraints to women owning land or property are highest in Africa, the Arab States, Asia and Latin America.

  • Real estate costs are highest in Asia and the Pacific where one square metre of land for a serviced plot costs an average of US$ 3.1. Africa is at the lowest end of the real estate market with an average price of US$ 0.15 per square metre.