The construction of 605 houses in Nakuru, under the ambitious Affordable Housing Project has been officially launched.
The project a partnership between the County government, the State Department for Housing and Urban Development and private sector developer Kings Pride Properties comprises of 1-bedroom, 2-bedroom and 3-bedroom apartment units and is expected to be completed within 18 months.
Principal Secretary for Housing and Urban Development Charles Hinga said the prices of the houses will range between Ksh 1.5 million and Ksh 4 million, while initial owners will not be allowed to sell their units before the lapse of 8 years to avoid price speculation.
The housing units are part of a larger scheme to deliver 500,000 houses to those in lower-income segments in Kenya towards fulfilment of the Big4 agenda on housing.
Hinga who was accompanied by Governor Lee Kinyanjui said the low-cost affordable housing units shall be met through budgetary allocation, partnerships between financial institutions, private developers, cooperatives and manufacturers of building materials.
He advised Kenyans to register on the www.bomayangu.go.ke portal and begin making contributions through the platform and select their housing preference from the available or upcoming housing stock.
Hinga noted that though the annual demand in Kenya for affordable housing for the middle and low income earners was 170,000 units, a mere 1,000 units are built every year, a situation he said had been worsened by official policy misalignments, outdated building code and low number of housing mortgages in the country.
He said Kenya had only 25,000 housing mortgages catering for a population of over 40 million people, a situation the Governor noted had aggravated the housing crisis in the country.
Governor Kinyanjui said the project that will complement the ongoing construction of 2,400 houses in Naivasha, targets workers earning between Ksh 15,000 and Ksh 150,000.
The houses in Nakuru will be built on a 10 acre-land in Bondeni Estate within Nakuru Town East Sub-County while those within Naivasha are being constructed on a 55 acre parcel of land along the Nairobi-Nakuru highway near GK Prisons.
Kinyanjui noted that realization of the provision of Affordable Housing is not only in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big 4 agenda but it is also part of the fulfillment of the Constitution Chapter 4, Article 43 which guarantees every Kenya the right to accessible and adequate housing and reasonable standards of sanitation.
The Governor stated that Counties have signed memoranda with the national Government to construct at least 2,000 affordable housing units per year.
Construction of the houses comes at a time when demand for housing in Nakuru is rising, as local steel and cement manufacturers, animal feeds makers and dairy industries companies set up shop at the Salgaa industrial Zone.
Several local and foreign investors have also expressed interest in setting up manufacturing concerns at the new Industrial Zone within Rongai Sub-County.
Naivasha has attracted both local and foreign investors in the industrial sector. Besides Standard Gauge Railway that is linked to the Meter Gauge Railway at Mai Mahiu the Inland dry port, a business park being established by Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) and an Industrial park set up by Oserian Company are also expected to draw firms.
“We are fast tracking projects that will ensure the growing demand for housing for workers in the various companies that seek to bring their investments is met. So far Nakuru is among counties in urgent need of affordable houses. Over 26% of Kenyans live in cities and the urban population is growing at a rate of 4.2 % every year,” Kinyanjui said.
Nakuru is among 23 counties that have provided land for the affordable housing programme. It has been grappling with housing shortages for years. There is a shortfall of both residential and commercial units.
“The Kenya Mortgage Refinance Company will help to extend the tenure of housing loans from the current average of seven years to at least twenty years. It will also assist in driving interest rates on mortgages to single digits,” he added.