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Housing Finance returns to property supply

By - | May 17th 2012

Mortgage financier Housing Finance has made a grand return to property supply after a 13- year absence via one of its subsidiary, writes ALLAN OLINGO

Through Kenya Building Society (KBS), Housing Finance is set to construct 162 maisonettes and an elaborate commercial centre on a piece of land measuring 13 acres in Komarock estate in Nairobi.

Speaking during the launch of the Kenya Building Society, Housing Finance Managing Director, Frank Ireri noted that the firm was now better placed to serve the lower and middle-income segments of the market where demand for housing is strong.

“Housing Finance intends to raise its involvement on the supply side of residential middle and lower income housing, which will in turn create significant mortgage lending opportunities for the company,” said Ireri.

The housing supply strategy is projected to accelerate the firm’s established presence as a major supplier of affordable housing; spearheading appropriate product development for the informal sector and middle to low income earners.

Speaking during the event, Housing Minister Soita Shitanda noted that the Government, through the Ministry of Housing had put great emphasis on the improvement of housing.

“Our emphasis on the improvement of housing has mainly been influenced by the fact that the  housing stock is a strategically important social and economic investment,” noted Shitanda. “In addition, well-planned housing and

Housing Finance officials on site  during the ground-breaking at Komarock in Nairobi’s Eastlands area.

infrastructure of acceptable standards and affordable costs with essential services accords dignity, security and privacy to an individual, the family and community.”

Housing shortfall

Shitanda admitted that the country is faced with a shortfall of around 150,000 units as the real estate industry can only produce 50,000 units against the estimated current urban need of 200,000

The Komarock Phase?5A Estate is located approximately 15 kilometres from the city centre and is located close to Mama Lucy Kibaki Referral Hospital.

Kenya Building Society was synonymous with the advancement of products in the property industry, particularly housing estates like Buru Buru and Komarock in Nairobi and Fahari in Mombasa.

Komarock was?built as a middle-income estate in the 1970s and 1980s and inhabited by Kenyan business people and professionals. It comprises of four phases with the fourth completed in 1999.? KBS recently won a five-year court battle for a prime 33.5 acres piece of land located within Komarock.

According to the minister, the future of the housing industry looks bright with players looking forward to the enactment of the Housing Bill.

“The long awaited Housing Bill will see the establishment of the National Housing Fund to facilitate the development of affordable housing through access to affordable funds,” he noted.

Development fund

The National Housing Development Fund will act as an additional source of funding for housing development in the country. The bill introduces a raft of measure to increase investment in housing and is expected to help reduce the acute housing shortage facing the major towns and cities in Kenya.

Shitanda added that the National Housing Development Fund will act as an additional source of funding for housing development in the country as the Bill proposes that five per cent of the annual national budget be allocated to housing. 

“The National Housing Development Fund will receive the monies to be used in providing basic infrastructure and planning and social housing,” said Shitanda.

During the function, the minister also revealed that the building code is under a review process in order to accelerate the use of modern and appropriate building materials and technologies in housing development for the benefit of lowering the cost of construction and shortening the delivery period.

“I would like to encourage players in the industry to make use of modern construction technologies such as prefabricated boards and interlocking stabilised soil blocks, which are cheaper and environmentally friendly than the preferred brick and mortar,” said Shitanda.

Shitanda also mentioned that to instil discipline and mainstream operations within the construction industry, the ministry of housing has prepared regulatory instruments.

“These Bills include the Draft Built-Environment Bill 2011, Draft Building Surveyors Bill 2011, National Building Regulations and National Building and Maintenance Policy,” he revealed.


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