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Kenya: Zero-rate building materials for affordable housing, says Machakos Governor

Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua says,Kenya  will push for zero-rating of construction materials through legislation

He said most Kenyans cannot afford good houses because of high cost of construction and mortgage rates. “Interest rates in banks are killing us. In Australia, banks charge interest rates of 1.82 per cent compared to Kenya’s 14-15 per cent,” Mutua said.

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The governor said the cost of building materials should be lowered for the government to achieve the Big Four agenda of affordable housing.

He said the party will also push for lower mortgage rates to enable more Kenyans to buy homes.

“Development is not about dreaming and talking, it is about constructing what people can see,” the county chief said.

Mutua said the need for houses in Machakos exceeds those available. He was commissioning the Great Wall Gardens 1 and groundbreaking of Great Wall 2 in Athi River, Mavoko subcounty.

Eldemann Properties Ltd MD Zeyun Yang said they have constructed more than 4,000 affordable houses in seven years. They target the middle and low-income earners. “My vision is to see every family afford a decent house,” the private developer said.

He said the Great Wall Gardens phase one in Athi River is the biggest project his company has undertaken.

Yang said Great Wall Gardens 1 has 2,173 units comprising 840 houses of two bedrooms. The rest have three bedrooms each.

He said Great Wall Gardens 2, under construction, has 572 apartments and 22 shops. “Great Wall Gardens 1 has been sold out; we will exhaust selling phase two by December this year,” Yang said.

A three bedroom house sells at Sh3.75 million. The gated community development is on 50 acres.

Yang said the project has employed many youths, especially from Athi River.

Mutua urged more developers to invest in Machakos.

National housing plan

Last November, Urban and Housing Development PS Charles Mwaura said Kenyans will register through an online portal for the government’s Sh1.3 trillion housing programme. He said those who want to own houses will pay monthly contributions to support the ambitious project.

The project targets low and middle-income households and seeks to unlock home ownership for Kenyans with a monthly income of between Sh15,000 and Sh100,000.

Mwaura said 500,000 affordable units will be delivered over four years at a cost of Sh1.3 trillion — an annual construction cost of Sh325 billion. About 10,000 houses will be built monthly starting in Parklands to realise the dream, he said.

The units will range from one bedroom to three bedroom, with varying sizes depending on the location and an individual’s or family’s needs analysis.

A one-bedroom house within 30-square metres will cost Sh1 million, two-bedroom unit at 40 square metres will go for Sh2 million, while a three-bedroom house at 60 square metres will cost Sh3 million.

Source: the-star.co.ke

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