Macharia rolls out Sh20bn affordable homes plan in Athi River

 Stoni Athi Waterfront City

Transport and Housing Secretary James Macharia launches the construction of Stoni Athi Waterfront City in Mavoko, Machakos County on December 3, 2021. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT | NMG

The government has launched a Sh20 billion housing project in Mavoko, Machakos County.

The project, Stoni Athi Waterfront City, will see the construction of 10,500 units comprising houses targeting low, middle and high-income earners.

The housing project is being developed by the National Housing Corporation (NHC) on 150-acre land.

Lying near the banks of River Athi, it will have 5,000 units under the affordable housing plan ranging from Sh1 million and Sh3 million per unit. Another 5,500 units target middle- and upper-income households with houses selling between Sh2 million and Sh8 million.

Other features include malls and social amenities including hospitals, schools, boat riding, playing grounds and parks for the residents.

Game changer

Describing the multibillion-shilling project as a game-changer in the region, Transport, Infrastructure and Housing  Secretary James Macharia, who launched the project on Friday, urged more private investors to engage in housing projects.

This, he said, “would not only be supporting one of the pillars of the Big Four agenda but will also support humanity by improving access to quality and affordable housing”.

“Today marks a key milestone in the affordable housing programme as we launch the Stoni Athi Waterfront City Project that makes a huge contribution towards achieving the National Housing Corporation mandate of housing the nation,” he said.

So far, the government has constructed over 186,000 units in the past eight years, a signal that the government was determined to provide decent housing for its citizens, Mr Macharia said.

He revealed that the NHC will also be constructing 5,000 housing units in the Konza Techno City "very soon". 

“NHC can enhance the use of innovative structures such as joint ventures and other collaborative enhancements to unlock the housing challenges facing the country. It has the capacity to provide vehicles through which county governments can facilitate the development of affordable homes,” he said.

Housing Permanent Secretary Charles Hinga expressed concerns over the high demand for housing in urban centres — up to 250,000 units per year — yet only a fifth of the units can be supplied annually in the current market.

“Of the supply of the 50,000 units, 49,000 units are for the upper-middle and high-end markets while only 1,000 units are available to the lower segment of the housing market,” he said.

PS Hinga then challenged the youth to substitute their desire to buy cars with the need to own houses as “affordable homes cost the same price that vehicles cost in the market”.

He added that there are many financing plans to enable the youth to own homes.

Home loans

“The government has created Kenya Mortgage Refinancing Company (KMRC) to provide single-digit interest rate which is fixed and a long-term mortgage. This means homeowners have an opportunity to access affordable mortgages from KMRC through local banks that are its members,” he said.

Read: KMRC talks set the stage for mortgage-backed securities

He also added that Mavoko residents would be given priority to buy the houses.

Mavoko MP Patrick Makau welcomed the project and asked CS Macharia to draft a stricter urban planning framework that will bring order to the booming construction sector.

“If cleanliness is next to godliness, then planning too is next to godliness,” he said.

NHC Board Chairman Stephen Ngare said they would be using the expanded polystyrene (EPS), an alternative building technology, which is not only easy to apply but also cost-effective thus reducing the cost for the buyers.

“The cost savings drawn from the use of the EPS are passed on to the eventual house owner. The corporation is able to effectively supply the EPS from its manufacturing plant located here in Mavoko,” he said.

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