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Govt unveils portal to collect data and book affordable houses

In September 2018, the government signed a deal with the United Nations Office for Project Services to deliver 100,000 affordable housing units/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 29 – A government portal that allows citizens to register and apply for affordable housing units is now live.  

Transport and Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said will allow the government to plan the affordable housing program based on needs and data submitted via the portal.

“One of the issues that came up when we were doing the public participation is that people were saying, ‘how sure are we that this thing will not be infiltrated by well-connected people who will get more units?’ that’s why we have come up with this very robust portal to ensure only legitimate people access these houses,” said Macharia.

In addition to the biodata, employment status and household information, the portal will capture details of where registered users prefer living which will inform the government on where the houses will be developed.

Housing Principal Secretary Charles Hinga said registration on the website is free and that the housing department wants as many Kenyans to register on the portal.

“We have partnered with Huduma Centre to provide us with the technical support in regard to the platform and they have also dedicated a desk for affordable housing programme,” said Hinga.

Macharia added that a court case that had been filed by COTU opposing the housing levy that will fund the lost cost house pledge has been dropped, paving the way for employers to deduct 1.5 percent of an employee’s salary and remit it to the National Housing Development Fund.

As a result of this fund which secures the interests of investors, Hinga said, local and international developers and financiers have committed over $15 billion towards the affordable

The first low-cost housing estate in Nairobi is under development along Park road with 1,500 units, with each unit retailing between Sh600,000 and Sh1.4 million

The state-backed Kenya Mortgage Refinance Company has been established whose mandate is to work with the banking sector and the cooperative movement through Saccos to make available affordable mortgage finance for those wishing to own a home.

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The mortgage finance company will also extend the tenure of housing loans from the current average of seven years to at least 20 years and assist in driving interest rates on mortgages to single digits.

In September 2018, the government signed a deal with the United Nations Office for Project Services to deliver 100,000 affordable housing units.

The signing of the deal took place on the sidelines of the 73rd United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Providing affordable housing is one of the four priority areas by the government that aims to add to the market half a million low cost homes in five years.

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