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Technology to spur demand for affordable housing in Kenya

NEWS
By By FRANKLINE SUNDAY | October 8th 2013

By FRANKLINE SUNDAY

The drive for affordable housing has gained fresh impetus. This  follows the launch of the pilot construction project of low cost housing units in Ruai, a Nairobi suburb last week.

The project will see the government through the National Housing Corporation (NHC) construct sample low-cost housing units for police staff quarters.

This is in an attempt to improve the housing conditions of members of the National Police Service. If successful, the project will be used as a blue print that will be scaled up nationally with 2,000 units constructed within the 2013/2014 financial year.

The low cost housing units are the first ones in the country to use the Expanded Polystyrene - EPS panel technology recently launched in the country. The EPS panels, which are produced by the NHC’s factory in Mavoko, Machakos County, are cheaper and easy to assemble, saving on time and labour.

Create more jobs

NHC Managing Director Wachira Njuguna said use of the new technology will reduce housing costs and create more skilled and semi-skilled jobs in the construction sector. “As the technology is easy to transfer and adopt, the government will be able to engage more youth in the construction sector and boost their capacity to find employment,” he said.

Mr Wachira noted that NHC would expand its project to bridge the huge deficit in housing solutions for various State agencies and institutions. “We are looking at developing  10,000 units over the next five years targeting government staffers working for the Kenya Police Service, Defence Forces, Ministry of Health, Judiciary and the Prisons Department,” he explained.

The new developments by the NHC comes at a time when the country is experiencing a vibrant real estate sector that has been on a steady rise for the past decade.

Recent data from real estate firm Hass Consult indicated that house prices went up marginally for the second quarter of 2013 maintaining a trend that has been consistent for the better part of the past five years.

Daniel Ojijo of the Kenya Homes Expo said the value of the real estate market is enjoying a bull run following Kenya’s relatively favourable investment climate.

The demand for apartments between May and August 2013 has more than doubled as the country’s growing middle class exerts pressures on the limited housing facilities. The average price of an apartment going for Sh5.2 million in 2000, now goes for Sh12.5 million.

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