Country Profile

Since 2000, Tanzania has experienced some of the strongest macroeconomic growth and highest urbanization rates of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, while remaining among the poorest and the least urbanized. Just 26 percent of the population lives in urban areas, where an estimated 73 percent are renters (Hoek-Smit, 1991).

In 2009, outstanding mortgage debt was estimated to total about USD $100 million amounting to just 0.30 percent of GDP. The total number of mortgage loans was 2,000, making the average loan amount USD $50,000.Homes are almost exclusively financed by cash. Only a handful of banks provide mortgages secured by property as collateral.Most home financing comes in the form of personal loans.

The Mortgage Finance (Special Provisions) Act No. 17 of 2008 strengthened the creditors’ ability to enforce collateral by eliminating provisions that allowed for the delay and dismissal of foreclosure claims.Failure to disclose the mortgaging of a property to a spouse, which had been a major obstacle to collateral enforcement, was made a crime punishable by 12 months imprisonment or a fine of half the loan amount.

Microfinance institutions play an important and growing role in Tanzania’s financial sector. Microfinance regulations passed in 2005 allow any financial NGO to become a regulated deposit-taking microfinance company.Women Advancement Trust’s (WAT) – Human Settlements Trust dominates the housing microfinance field, while other small providers have or intend to launch housing microfinance pilot programs.

In January 2010, the Tanzania Mortgage Refinance Company (TMRC) was incorporated, capitalized by equity from bank shareholders and partially funded by an International Development Association (IDA) loan.The TMRC will serve as a liquidity facility, issuing bonds on the capital market to provide medium to long-term funding for banks’ mortgage portfolios.


Hoek-Smit, Marja. 1991. The Urban Housing Sector in Tanzania: Analysis of the Urban Housing Survey 1990, Ministry of Regional Development and Local Government/World Bank, Dar es Salaam.

World Bank. 2010. Project Appraisal Document on a Proposed Credit to the United Republic of Tanzania for Housing Finance Project.

About the Editor

Tanzania Mortgage Refinance Company (TMRC)

TMRC is a specialized financial institution that provides long term funding to financial institutions for the purposes of mortgage lending. TMRC is a private sector institution owned by banks. TMRC has the objective of supporting financial institutions to do mortgage lending by refinancing Primary Mortgage Lenders' (PMLs') mortgage portfolios. TMRC refinances mortgage loan portfolios rather than individual mortgage loans and caters to banks rather than individual borrowers.