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Bamburi’s plan to make owning homes easier

REAL ESTATE
By James Wanzala | July 30th 2015
Bamburi Cement Marketing Manager Irene Onacha said the initiative will assist potential homeowners access financing and other technical support. [PHOTO:JAMES WANZALA/STANDARD]

NAIROBI: Bamburi Cement has partnered with micro-finance institutions to make home ownership for low-income earners easier.

Through its Maskani product, Bamburi plans to link those who already have parcels of land with lenders offering cheap construction loans. It will also offer technical assistance to the borrowers.

Bamburi Cement is the local subsidiary of Lafarge, which in 2010 launched the Affordable Housing Initiative, aiming at addressing the housing needs of low-income families around the world. Lafarge estimates that it will have helped about two million people globally acquire housing by 2020.

According to Bamburi Cement’s Country Marketing Manager Irene Onacha, the initiative will assist potential homeowners access financing and other technical support.

“We will offer individual home builders free technical services, including architectural drawings, bills of quantities, technical assistance and construction advice and access to Bamburi’s countrywide retail network to get materials at negotiated prices,” said Onacha.

The costings are based on average costs of construction per square metre.

This may vary depending on the finishes, location of the construction site, the soil conditions, county government approvals and the cost of construction materials.

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The first step is for an interested homeowner to have a parcel of land and a combined income of not more than Sh100,000 per month (per household).

The individual should then apply for a loan from a Bamburi-approved micro-finance institution. If approved, the client then selects a house plan from the Bamburi catalogue.

There are ten modern house designs ranging from one to four-bedroom houses, bungalows and maisonettes costing between Sh500,000 and Sh5.2 million.

Minor alterations can be made to the existing designs to incorporate individual preferences.

The loan interest rate depends on the individual’s micro-finance institution of choice, while the amount borrowed depends on the applicant’s credit worthiness.

Two micro-finance institutions have already signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Bamburi for the pilot phase, which has two on-going projects in Huruma (Nairobi) and Thika.

A technical assistant will prepare a bill of quantities and schedule of materials to be used, in addition to visiting the applicant’s site to verify the suitability of the selected house design and will then offer construction advice and tips throughout the process.

According to Ms Onacha, the loan is not only for constructing a new house, but also for renovations and extensions.

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