State Department of Housing Permanent Secretary Charles Hinga yesterday said that he is optimistic the government’s affordable housing program is achieving the desired impact on house prices.
“If you look at the majority of houses currently being advertised on newspapers are actually below the KES 3 million mark which is a pointer that the program is actually working,” he said during an interview with Metropol TV.
The PS also said the government had managed to make developers bring the cost of housing significantly down.
“When we began this program the cost per sqm was KSh. 80,000”, he said citing the police housing project “today we’re down to KSh. 35,000,” he added.
According to Hinga, the government has put a cap on the cost to buyers of affordable housing at 50,000 sqm for units built on government land and 60,000 per sqm for those on non-government land.
Mr. Hinga said the program has tried to address issues like the cost of land and the cost of construction and the supply-demand balance. Land in Nairobi is the most expensive currently on the content because of speculation.
Addressing the big question of whether the government will meet its target for the affordable housing agenda by 2022, the PS said one misnomer of affordable housing was that the government was going to build those houses.
He said that the government funding strategy changed following the protests that followed the proposal to make compulsory deductions for the housing fund. Currently, contributions to the housing fund are voluntary.
“We had to restrategize and now our strategy is to support the private sector through tax incentives, making-land available, end-user financing…” he explained.
He said the government currently holds approximately 15,000 acres across the country accessible to developers, earmarked for affordable housing.