The second urban dialogue on delivering the affordable housing agenda kicked off in Nairobi today. The two-day forum is scheduled to bring together industry stakeholders, recorded the attendance of key personalities and representatives from various organizations.
Among those in attendance were top government officials including the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development James Macharia, Housing Principal Secretary Charles Hinga and Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko
There were also delegates the World Bank, IFC, UN Habitat, Consumer Federation of Kenya and a host of other institutions. The delegates will deliberate on how the government can finance and deliver 500,000 affordable houses in five years.
Speaking at the event CS James Macharia said Affordable housing is cog in the wheel for the other three Agenda in the Big Four; manufacturing (construction material), health care and food security. He urged all stakeholders to work collectively for the realization of the housing goals across the country.
According to Housing PS Charles Hinga, the housing fund will raise KSh.6 billion a month translating to KSh. 55 billion a year hence unlocking the supply side of housing.
He spoke about the need to provide secondary liquidity into the market to unlock cheaper mortgages. World Bank data estimates show that Nairobi’s mortgage to rent ratio currently stands at 6 to 1 on average implying that it is better to buy than to rent.
The PS also advised Kenyans not to spend more than 30% of their disposable income for housing saying anything above 30% is not affordable. Kenya is currently producing 50,000 housing units with 49,000 being for high-end or middle-income market while demand at the lowest end of the market is the highest.
Nairobi has the highest cost of land on the continent, which has been a huge barrier for the development of affordable housing.