Project to boost low income earners

Kenya’s lower middle class, the segment that makes the majority of the working population are earning enough to pay rent, fuel their cars, feed their families and not much more.According to a Kenya National Housing Survey report, 80 per cent of the country’s population lives in rentals, spending upwards of 44 per cent of the family income on rent. The United Nations recommended expenditure is 30 per cent.“There is a lot of talk about affordable housing with many investors coming into the country riding on provision of such,” says Anthony Mbogori, an investment banker. “However, when they get here, the gated communities that they plough their billions into end up affordable only to the wealthy.
Most of the houses in projects from the ones in Athi River to those in Thika are averaging Sh10 million, way above most Kenyans reach.” Mbogori insists that what the country needs is a local solution, by local investors. “When we wait for foreign investors to come in and solve our issues, that won’t happen.They are interested in profits, and who could blame them. We need Kenyans to look at the bigger picture and provide housing for the neglected lower middle class.” And it seems his reasoning isn’t just hot gas. A Kenyan entrepreneur is building 2,280 housing unit that will retail at between 1.2 and 2.2 million.Called Chosen Green city, the project is seating on 300 acres of land at Kenol-Kabati, 11 kilometers from Thika Highway. “Murang’a was placed under Nairobi metropolitan last month after recognising the role counties neighbouring the Capital can play in decongesting it,” said Murang’a Governor, Mwangi wa Iria, who officially broke ground for the project.“Projects like these are now more than ever so timely as Nairobi’s land and houses have become unaffordable, yet our people need decent houses to bring up their families.” The estate is being constructed by Gakuyo Real Estate ltd, a firm started and run by renowned businessman and preacher, Reverend David Ngari.
It will consist of 1,080 one bedroom units retailing at Sh1.2m, 750 two bedrooms going at Sh1.5m and 480 three bedrooms at Sh2.2m each. The controlled development will also have a bus shuttle service to ferry residents to and from Nairobi, evenings and mornings, free of charge.But perhaps the most ingenious bit is the mode of payment. You book the house with a Sh100,000 deposit, join Ekeza Sacco, save for six months and the Sacco buys the house for you. “We have been in the business for 18 years and do understand that it is very hard for Kenyans to get the lump sum to buy a house even if they could raise the deposit.That is why we thought to innovate by integrating Ekeza Sacco in the plan, such that after saving Sh400,000, you can move into your house and repay the Sacco the rest of the amount in easy, installments and at 1 per cent interest rate,” explained Rev Ngari. The Sacco was recently feted by Safaricom as top in Lipa na Mpesa transactions.
On a traffic free day, the Chosen Green city is 20 minutes from Thika town and 50 minutes from Nairobi. It will also include a 3 star hotel, a school and a police post. “Instead of stashing money in foreign bank accounts, earning a measly interest, we should invest back home and make better money as we support the governments efforts in settling our people,” said Ngari.