Major players in the off-plan housing sector have called for regulation of the industry to help weed out rogue managers.
Mizizi Africa Homes Finance and Operations Director George Mburu (pictured) noted that streamlining the industry would boost the government’s affordable housing agenda.
“If it can be regulated, it can be to our advantage. However, it should be done the right way and be looked at as a business that is helping the State do affordable housing. In turn, the government should ease access to approvals and construction materials,” said Mburu.
Mr Mburu’s comments follow the rising criticism of the off-plan models, where scores of Kenyans aching for homeownership have lost their money to unscrupulous marketers who offer what they can’t deliver.
This comes a few weeks after Home & Away carried sad tales of Kenyans who lost money after investing in off-plan housing schemes.
Mr Mburu, however, said that despite the blow-back, off-plan remained one of the best options in affordable homeownership.
“From our end, we know that if this concept can be well applied and done properly, it is the only way to affordable housing,” he said.
He noted that some providers had become greedy due to the rising demand for housing, and had taken deposits and committed to themselves to multiple projects that they cannot deliver.
Mizizi’s first project, the Sh54 million Penguin Estate along Kenyatta Road in Juja, was snapped up within three months of launch.
Penguin Estate is a 16-unit real estate development that comprises of three-bedroom bungalows, selling at Sh3.2 million for cash buyers and targeted at middle-income buyers.
The handover of the houses is expected this August as the firm plans for a new one dubbed Heritage Estate.
He also noted that most people were buying for resale rather than to live in.
"The biggest mistake many off-plan providers make is taking bank loans and using the land as collateral," said Mburu.