All you need to know about the Affordable Housing Programme

The first 228 Kenyans who signed for the government-driven Affordable Housing Programme (AHP) will occupy the houses in October this year.

The units are based in Ngara, Nairobi, and come with two bedrooms.

The initiative, christened Boma Yangu, is under the government’s Big Four Agenda, and aims to facilitate ownership of affordable and decent housing for Kenyans in the low and middle-income brackets who are unable to own decent homes due to the prohibitive land and construction costs and stringent financing requirements.

The first of its kind in Kenya’s history, the project will be bankrolled and constructed by private entities on government and private land in all the 47 counties.

WHO QUALIFIES?

The project, launched in January this year, aims to roll out 500,000 units by 2022 to try and plug the housing gap in the country. The housing deficit in Kenya stands at 2 million and continues to grow at a rate of about 200,000 units every year, according to the World Bank.

The more than 2,000 units in the first block of the four-block Ngara Park Road project are in the last stages of construction, which involves interior fixtures.

Government Spokesperson Col (Rtd) Cyrus Oguna said the houses will be handed over to the government for onward allocation to the owners in October this year. The allocation will be done using the ballot system.

“This method will ensure there is no nepotism or prejudice in allocation of the units...we’re aiming for fairness and transparency,” he said.

The Ngara project, which is being financed and developed by a Chinese developer to the tune of Sh5 billion, will deliver a total of 1,370 one, two and three-bedroom houses.

Col Oguna said that all the units at the Ngara site will be completed by February 2021 and will be handed over to Kenyan buyers who will have subscribed and contributed at least 12.5 per cent of the value of the unit by the time of handover. Initially, every taxpayer was to contribute a percentage of their income towards the state-run housing fund, but the government was forced to introduce the option of voluntary contribution after a section of Kenyans moved to court to bar the statutory deductions.

Already, about 250,000 Kenyans have signed up for the project, but only approximately 15,000 Kenyans have made payments towards the houses, totalling Sh10 million. The minimum one can contribute is Sh200, but this must sum up to Sh2,500 in monthly contributions. This, explained Col Oguna, was to allow daily wage earners to contribute towards the scheme. There is no limit to how much one can contribute monthly.

IDENTIFICATION

At the Ngara site, Block A has six floors, Block B 13 floors while Blocks D and E will have 14 floors each. There is no block C as the government scrapped it after finding that the Chinese contractor who was working on the design had over-populated the site.

Block A will feature two-bedroom units of 60 square metres each, while Block B features three-bedroom units of 80 square metres. Blocks D and E have 1 bedroom houses of 20 square metres, 2 bedrooms of 40 square metres and 3 bedrooms of 60 square metres.

All the houses under the project should be completed by January 2021.

The Ngara site, which sits on a nine-acre piece of land between Kinshasa and Muslim roads, will contain a nursery school, a parking lot, running track and shopping centre, among other communal facilities.

To qualify for a house, you will be required to register with the Boma Yangu housing fund, on the government portal. Upon registration, you will be allocated a unique identification number, which you will use to make your monthly contribution to the fund.

You can pay using mobile money, debit card, bank transfer or on the Huduma Life app.

Once you complete your profile by submitting your personal details, you will be required to state your housing preferences, that is, the type of house you are applying for.

The initial eligibility for allocation will depend on several factors, such as when you registered, family status as well as demand across the housing categories. A member is only entitled to one house under the AHP.

BALLOT SYSTEM

Even though subscribers are supposed to make mandatory monthly payments, those who fall behind on their payments will have their cases reviewed by the board of the AHP on a case by case basis, to allow special cases to secure a home.

Those who do not get a house in the initial allocation are then put on a waiting list to ensure that they get priority in subsequent allocations.

Kenyans who contribute to the fund but fail to win a unit in the ballot system of allocation will get a refund plus interest, according to the government spokesperson.

Overall, for one to qualify for allocation, they must have paid up at least 12.5 per cent of the total value of the unit they applied for by the time of completion of the units.

The payment period is 25 years. Contributions to the Housing Fund can be accessed 15 years after a member’s first contribution or on attainment of retirement age, whichever comes first, in case one wants to walk away from the programme or is unable to continue paying.

“If you do not get allocated a house and you’ve been contributing, and you want to opt out of the programme, then you’ll get a full refund plus interest at the going market rate from the custodian bank, KCB, after 15 years or upon retirement,” clarified Col. Oguna.

The initial eligibility for allocation will depend on several factors such as when you registered, family status as well as demand across the housing categories.

With low and middle-income earners in mind, there are four income brackets targeted by the programme, including social housing targeting those earning below Sh20,000, low-cost housing targeting those earning between Sh20,000 and Sh50,000 as well as mortgage gap for those who earn between Sh50,000 and Sh149,000. There will also be a mid to high income earners category of Sh150,000 and above.

INFORMAL SETTLEMENT

The pricing of the houses varies, and under the social housing project single rooms will be sold for Sh600,000, with the buyer expected to make a minimum deposit of Sh2,500 a month. Two-room units are going for Sh1 million with a deposit of Sh4,500 a month, while three-room units will go for Sh1.35 million with an instalment of Sh6,500 per month.

These will have shared common areas such as water points and bathrooms.

They will be put up in areas currently occupied by informal settlement like Kibera. A one-bedroom house will be sold for Sh1million, two bedrooms for Sh2 million and three bedrooms for Sh3 million.

The government will on August 27 this month break ground for another project by the United Nations Office of Projects Services (UNOPS) at Lukenya in Athi River. At least 100,000 units will be put up here, with the first phase featuring 8,800 units.

Bidding processes for contractors to undertake development of similar units in Starehe and Shauri Moyo areas where 8,000 units will be built is ongoing, and developers for Kibera (4,400), Marigu-ini in South B (2,600) and Kiambiu, Eastleigh (4,000) are set to move to site in December this year, according to the government spokesman.

Vacate notices have been issued to civil servants living in these sites to allow for commencement of works - 2.3 billion has been allocated for relocation in Kibera, Marigu-ini and Kiambiu,” he announced.

A clause in the terms and conditions, however, does warn that where taxes are imposed by Kenya Revenue Authority on services in this agreement, “contributors shall pay additional amount to cater for the tax due.”

TAX INTEREST

The tax interest percentage is a factor of the cost of the unit which applies in the repayment period.

This mean the units’ initial cost will go up by that percent if cleared over the 25-year period in the rent-to-own or tenant-purchase scheme payment arrangement.

For instance, the least expensive social housing unit priced at Sh600,000 will go up to Sh750,000 if the buyer maintains the monthly instalments at Sh2,500 every month for the 25 years. Those who can afford to pay in lump sum are allowed to do so under the out-right purchase scheme.

Banks and Saccos seeking to increase the volume of residential mortgages can borrow from the Kenya Mortgage Refinance Company (KMRC) to lend to aspiring homeowners.

Under the AHP, civil servants get first priority to 30 percent of any houses under this scheme, while the police and the disciplined forces will get the “Where civil servants are currently residing but are to be displaced by the project, they will get first priority to purchase. But the process remains that same as that of other Kenyans,” he added.

While home owners cannot dispose of their house to the open market before the lapse of eight years, they have the option of selling it back to the Fund and retaining their equity build-up.

Image: PIXABAY

Source: DAILY NATION

This article is culled from daily press coverage from around the world. It is posted on the Urban Gateway by way of keeping all users informed about matters of interest. The opinion expressed in this article is that of the author and in no way reflects the opinion of UN-Habitat.