This report examines the housing finance mechanisms in South Africa. The report looks at the macro-economic conditions and legal environment in which housing finance is operating. It discusses the role of the state, private sector, multilateral institutions and other agencies in the development of housing finance mechanisms. It reviews a variety of instruments and measures to facilitate access to housing finance and for implementation of different housing finance schemes. It demonstrates that how policy development and environment can shape the housing finance system and its evolution. It examines the different commercial banking approaches, instruments and products to low income housing finance, and their challenges and constraints. It explores how the regulatory infrastructure and environment and institutions created by the state can carry some of the intermediary risks associated with extending loans to the lower income housing market.