Over 275,000 registered for housing levy, State reveals

Monday, December 16th, 2019 00:00 |
Housing and Urban Development PS Charles Hinga with Malindi Progressive Welfare Association chair Kate Mwikali addresses the press at the Malindi Sea Front Project on Saturday. Photo/PD/NDEGWA GATHUNGU

Monica Kagia

More than 275,000 Kenyans have registered for the voluntary housing levy through the Boma Yangu portal that seeks to provide affordable housing.

Housing, Urban Development and Public Works PS Charles Hinga said so far, the government has received Sh100 million from Kenyans who want to own  homes.

Speaking in Malindi on Saturday, Hinga said out of the registered, 18,000 Kenyans have already started saving and contributing towards the voluntary housing levy.

Private-sector driven

“The housing programme implementation is a private sector-driven initiative, the government is identifying land through national and county government then the ministry services the land through some of the money,’’ he said.

“We have set certain guidelines, for example, we have set the ceiling of affordable housing and how much they are going to sell so that they don’t end up taking advantage of the public,’’ he said.

He said the government have made sure that the tax benefits flow to the end-user, adding with a framework in place called the development framework guidelines.

The PS said affordable housing is not synonymous with cheap and low-quality housing but houses that 50 years to 100 years from now will still be livable in.

“As you may recall on Jamhuri Day, President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered State department and National Treasury to go back to Parliament and revise the mandatory levy to a voluntary levy, now we have already started,  have made it open and I must say we have over 275,000 Kenyans that have registered on Boma Yangu portal and of those 18,000 have already started saving and contributing voluntarily towards their home,’’ he said.

The PS said they are encouraged by what they are seeing, adding that there must be the right policy framework, right physical space and right incentives since it’s not the government that will build the houses but the private sector.

Hinga said there is no more stamp duty  for the first time homeowners and that home ownership saving plan has been doubled from Sh4,000 to Sh8,000.

Further, the PS said there is also the affordable housing relief which gives Kenyans some money back to start saving towards their home. He said all those efforts combined there were signs that houses are beginning to come which are affordable.

Low  cost housing

“We are targeting everybody but where the need is most is the bottom of the pyramid this is where we have got people earning less than 20,000 who qualify for a social house,’’ he said.

He said they also have another space for low-cost housing which targets those earning between Sh20,000 to Sh100,000, mortgage gap housing Sh100,000 to Sh150,000 and another space for people earning over Sh150,000.

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