Credit: daaonline.org

Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOS), have overtaken commercial banks and mortgage providers in the provision of home construction in loans in Kenya according to a recent World Bank report. The SACCOs now provide 90 percent (over 100,000 housing loans) of home loans in Kenya according to the World Bank.

This improvement has been occasioned by SACCOs packaging home loans as development loans and at more affordable interest rates usually at 12 percent per annum. SACCOs also offer small formal mortgages through the Kenya Union of Savings and Credit Co-operatives (Kuscco) Housing Fund.

The SACCOs have successfully penetrated the construction sector as they avail unsecured construction loans in many instances. According to the Centre for Affordable Housing in Africa (CAHF) year book for 2017, SACCOs have played a critical role in the provision of affordable housing in Kenya considering that the number of mortgage accounts in 2015 stood at 24 458 with a mortgage outstanding value of Ksh. 203.3 billion (US$1,969,724,860).

However, as at January 2017 the Sacco Societies Regulatory Authority (SASRA) had 176 registered SACCOs, one SACCO under statutory management and another one deregistered.

Cooperative movements remain significant stakeholders with regard to supporting the mortgage market. The National Cooperative Housing Union (NACHU), an apex organisation made of registered primary housing cooperatives, works to provide affordable and decent housing to Kenyans within the low and modest income communities. NACHU has more than 800 housing cooperatives in eight regions of Kenya and has become a leading organisation in the provision of housing microfinance, capacity building and technical services.

The CAHF year book shows that NACHU has supported various community housing and real estate projects with recently completed projects including Alfa Mwanda Housing Project in Nakuru (33 units), Faith Foundation Housing Project in Nairobi (52 units), Royal Housing Project (50 units) and Mutindwa/Good Neighbours Housing Project (39 units). The projects currently running include; Kabiria Housing Project in Nairobi (37 units), and Ngumo Mbega Housing Project (20 units).

According to the Central Bank of Kenya, the capping of interest rates has also increased demand for home loans but reduced supply of the loans since commercial banks have had to adopt more strict loaning criteria to avert the potential risks.

Altogether, access to finance remains below that of developed countries as many Kenyans are still far from their home ownership dreams.