Residents in Mavoko in Machakos will be the first beneficiaries of the biggest housing project in the area that was officially launched by Transport, Infrastructure and Housing Cabinet Secretary James Macharia Friday.
Termed as Stoni Athi Waterfront City, the housing project, which is being developed by the National Housing Corporation (NHC), covers 150 acres.
Lying near the banks of River Athi, it will have 10,500 units and will cost a total of Sh20 billion to construct.
Five thousand units will be under the affordable housing plan and will range between Sh1 and Sh3 million in price per unit with the other 5,500 units targeting the middle and upper income households with the price ranges of Sh2 and Sh8 million.
In addition to the houses, the area will also have business zones that will house malls, supermarkets and other stores as well as social amenities including hospitals, schools, boat riding, playing grounds and parks for the residents.
Describing the multi-billion project as game changer in the region, CS Macharia urged more private investors to engage in more housing projects “as this would not only be supporting one of the pillars of the Big Four agenda but will also support humanity by improving accessibility to quality and affordable housing”.
“Today marks a key milestone in the affordable housing programme as we launch the Stoni Athi Waterfront City Project that makes a huge contribution towards achieving the National Housing Corporation mandate of housing the nation,” he said.
So far, the government has constructed over 186,000 units in the past eight years, an indicator that it had taken the issue of providing Kenyans with decent houses very seriously, CS Macharia said.
He revealed that the NHC will also be constructing 5,000 housing units in the Konza Techno City very soon.
Use innovative structures
“NHC can enhance the use of innovative structures such as joint ventures and other collaborative enhancements to unlock the housing challenges facing the country. It has the capacity to provide vehicles through which county governments can facilitate the development of affordable homes,” he said.
Housing Permanent Secretary Charles Hinga expressed his concern over the high demand for housing in urban centres — up to 250,000 units per year — yet only 50,000 units can be supplied annually in the current market.
“Of the supply of 50,000 units, 49,000 units are for the upper middle and high end market while only 1,000 units are available to the lower segment of the housing market,” he said.
PS Hinga then challenged the youth to substitute their desire to buy cars with the need to own houses as the affordable houses were not only “affordable homes but cost the same price that vehicles cost in the market”. He added that there are many financing plans to enable the youth own homes.
“The government has created Kenya Mortgages Refinancing Company (KMRC) to provide a single digit interest rate which is fixed and a long term mortgage. This means home owners have an opportunity to access affordable mortgages from KMRC through local banks that are its members,” he said.
He also added that Mavoko residents would be given priority to buy the houses.
Mavoko MP Patrick Makau welcomed the project and asked CS Macharia to draft a stricter urban planning framework that will bring order in the booming construction sector.
“If cleanliness is next to godliness, then planning too, is next to godliness,” he said.
NHC Board Chairman Stephen Ngare said they would be using the expanded polystyrene (EPS), an alternative building technology, which is not only easy to apply but also cost effective thus reducing the cost for the buyers.
“The cost savings drawn from use of the EPS are passed on to the eventual house owner. The corporation is able to effectively supply the EPS from its manufacturing plant located here in Mavoko,” he said.