State says affordable homes plan on course
Milliam Murigi @millymur1
The government has assured Kenyans it is striving to deliver the 500,000 housing units it promised in 2017.
Housing and Urban Development PS Charles Hinga said the State is working closely with private developers, county governments and strategic partners to ensure all units are ready for occupation before 2022.
“So far, we have in the pipeline more than 483,000 units. Some are ready while others will be ready before the year ends,” he said.
He was speaking during the handover ceremony of the inaugural phase of the Park Road Project last week, which comprises 228 units. “What we want to assure Kenyans is that our dream is valid and by 2022, all the 500,000 units will be ready,” he said.
The PS said mega projects under the Affordable Housing Programme will be primarily driven by private sector developers working with government as strategic partners. “The government is committed to facilitating and incentivising them to undertake these housing projects and help us achieve our grand ambitions,” said Hinga.
UN staff housing
He spoke as UK Climate Investment (UKCI) announced in London on Monday it will invest $39 million (Sh3.9 billion) in Kenya’s Affordable Housing Programme by financing the construction of 10,000 affordable homes, largely boosting the government’s affordable housing pillar.
In December, President Uhuru launched Habitat Heights, a mega housing project in Mavoko, Machakos county.
Located at Lukenya, the development will deliver 8,888 units and is one of the projects planned by the United Nations Office for Project Services (Unops) to provide homes to present and retired staff members of various constituent arms of the UN, their families and friends.
Unops and partners envisage to help build 100,000 affordable housing units following a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) Unops signed with President Uhuru in 2019 in the US.
Investors and developers in the programme enjoy fast tracking of approvals for projects; a 15 per cent corporate tax rate and no Value Added Tax (VAT) on construction inputs for affordable homes.
Customs tariffs on imported inputs have been reduced and bulk infrastructure to projects sites will be prioritised by the government.
“For first-time homeowners, there will be no stamp duty to be paid when you buy any of the units,” the PS said.
He said the purchase allocation policy to guide the allocation process for the Park Road apartments is complete and will be published soon across all media platforms.
“The process is going to be fair and transparent. It will be automated to make it accountable.
Once the process starts, it will entail sale of all 1,370 units, which are in various stages of development at Park Road,” Hinga added.
Boma yangu portal
The second and third phases of the project will be completed in June and December 2020 respectively. It will comprise one, two and three-bedroom units for sale at Sh1, Sh2 and Sh3 million respectively.
“All one needs to buy a house under this project is to register on the Boma Yangu online portal, then start saving.
The minimum savings should be 12.5 per cent of the value of the house you want for one to be considered,” said the PS.
However, not all private developers can benefit from the government incentives as there are rules and regulations. For a start, one must be financially stable, meaning no project will be sold off-plan to raise construction money.
The developer must also have available land and should strictly adhere to the utilisation of the set space: 20 square metres (sqms) for one-bedroom house, 40sqms for two-bedroom and 60sqm for three-bedroomed unit.
Other projects in the pipeline on national government land include Starehe and Shauri Moyo projects, which will be breaking ground in the next three months and will bring online about 8,000 housing units.
Kibera Soweto Zone B project, a social housing project for Kibera residents, will also break ground by April this year and will cater to 4,400 households already enumerated.
“In Starehe and Shauri Moyo projects, we are finalising the evaluation process. For Kibera project, residents have left the site and evaluation process will begin soon,” Hinga said.
Meanwhile, the National Housing Corporation Stoni View in Athi River is selling 456 finished units. When complete, this project will have 8,000 housing units.
The government also has various civil servants housing scheme projects in various stages of development: Kisumu 250, Machakos 152 , Embu 164 and Kiambu 193 units.
All the 759 units are complete and available for civil servants, except in Kiambu county.
Another 4,000 units are set for groundbreaking under the civil servant housing scheme across various counties while Mavoko Sustainable Housing Programme is almost finished and will bring on another 450 units.
”The State is working closely with all counties and 28 of them have committed to facilitate construction of 2,000 units,” Hinga said.