Housing Microfinance Product Development: A Handbook

Guide / Handbook
Date Published: 
Jan 2015

Primer and practitioner's guide with field-tested tools and lessons learned

This handbook is aimed at managers and staff members of financial and housing institutions, along with consultants, practitioners and generalists in the housing space who are interested in developing or refining housing microfinance products and services that respond to the needs, capacities and preferences of their clients. The handbook aids practitioners by:

  • Offering an overview and business case for housing microfinance focused on low-income populations;
  • Defining some of the drivers of success for a housing microfinance portfolio;
  • Describing a structured process for developing housing microfinance products and services that attempt to fill the gap between existing supply and demand;
  • Providing field-tested tools for staff members and consultants who are implementing this process;
  • Sharing lessons learned from each stage of the process.

In addition to the financial aspect of a housing microfinance product, this handbook discusses nonfinancial technical assistance for low-income homebuilders — called “housing support services” by Habitat — as part of the product development methodology. Habitat’s experience has shown that these services can be an important part of improving housing quality and reducing construction costs, besides creating a powerful marketing tool through which loan officers can promote the product. This topic is included throughout the handbook, and two chapters are dedicated to making the case for sustainable and effective housing support services.