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NHC to construct 530 houses in Nairobi

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A National Housing Corporation housing project in Langata. Photo/FILE

A National Housing Corporation housing project in Langata. Photo/FILE 

By PAUL WAFULA

Posted  Wednesday, May 19  2010 at  00:00

The National Housing Corporation (NHC) plans to construct 530 houses for sale this year, offering a fresh opportunity to Kenyans who missed out on a previous allocation .

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The units to be built in Nairobi’s Madaraka Estate (Sector A) will be sold at Sh5.5 million and Sh6.5 million for two and three bedroom houses respectively, said the institution tasked with implementation of the government’s housing policies and programmes.

Members of the public who missed out under a NHC tenant-purchase scheme early this year, but decided to retain their deposits with the corporation, will be given first priority on condition that they have the capacity to purchase the new units or can top up their current deposits to an equivalent of at least 20 per cent of the purchase price.

Early this year, the corporation was selling houses under the old Madaraka scheme, but favoured already existing tenants.

“The first phase of 110 units will be completed by August and members of the public who had shown interest in the old Madaraka project will benefit, “said Mr. Stanley Ngeny. The remaining 420 units will be ready by the end of the year.

Since its inception the State-owned parastatal has provided Kenyans with over 43,000 units all over the country.

Increasing demand

Demand for houses in urban centres has outstripped supply by five times, according to Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), leading to a rise in house prices locking out the low and middle-income earners from owning homes.

The corporation has been lauded for its tenant-purchase scheme, which has paved the way for many Kenyans especially in the middle income bracket to own homes for a small deposit, low-cost rent, and without paying interest.

With house supply estimated at 30,000 units against a demand of 150,000 units annually, and investors seeking to diversify into the lucrative real estate sector, most of the units under the scheme are often sold out long before construction starts.

Real estate experts attribute the housing shortage in Kenya to low investment in public infrastructure that make private investors shy away.

Offer incentives

“Investment in public infrastructure has not kept up with increased density and population, whether for residential or commercial,” said Laila Macharia, the director Scion Real Estate Limited.

They say the government needs to invest in higher capacity roads and parking, waste management, power and water provision, both downtown and in the suburbs among other incentives to woo real estate developers in Kenya.

The corporation’s ongoing projects include the Nairobi West Scheme and the Lang’ata Housing Scheme Phase 2 & 3.

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