By Prudence Minayo
Owning a house in Kenya remains a far fetched dream for many people. This is attributable to the high cost of buying land and building. And to be eligible for a mortgage one must be earning atleast kes150,000/= or more per month. This makes it almost impossible for most Kenyans earning under Ksh.100,000 per month to own houses.
The Affordable Housing Program (AHP) by the government hopes to help even low income earners own houses in the country. This is part of the big 4 agenda which works under the name Boma Yangu. Those who will benefit from AHP include the following income brackets:
- Up to 19,999/= – social
- 20,000/= – to 49,000/= – low cost
- 50,000/= to 149,999/= – Mortgage Cap.
The plans were put in motion in 2018 and the prescribed completion date is five years. The houses are being developed by a Chinese company and will be bought by the housing fund after completion. They will be built on government as well as county land and by the end of the development, a total of 500,000 houses should have been constructed.
The Role of the government
The government of Kenya is playing the following roles in this project:
- Providing state owned land
- Ensuring the availability infrastructure to provide ease in construction
- Acts as a facilitator.
- Providing tax incentives
- Ensuring quality standards are met.
For one to qualify for the house, they must:
Be a Kenyan citizen
Be above 18 years
Possess an Identification card.
To apply for affordable housing, visit the website through the Boma Yangu portal. Registration is completely free. The first process is to provide personal details about yourself
The personal details may include:
- Official name
- Date of birth
- County of residence
- Mobile phone Number.
The details will then be verified through a code sent to you for activation of the account. The other thing that will be required is for you to choose your preferred housing since not all houses will be the same. You will also be required to choose your preferred location as well.
After successfully registering for the program, one is given a special identification number. This number will be used to make monthly contributions to the housing fund. The following contributions are allowed:
- Statutory contributor: mandatory contributions capped at 2,500/= per month per employee and employer.
- Voluntary contributor: monthly contributions are not capped and withdrawal is not taxed
- Joint contributor: spousal or joint contribution can be made on one house at a time with the option to apply for one individually.
Types of houses
There will be a number of houses depending on the money in your pocket and preference.
One bedroom at Ksh.1 million
Two bedroom at Ksh.2 million
Three bedroom at Ksh.3 million.
For those under social income, the prescribed house design is:
One room at Ksh.600,000
Two rooms at Ksh.1,000,000
Three rooms at Ksh.1,350,000
To begin the journey to owning a house, one is required to pay as less as Ksh.2,500 per month to the house fund. It is not compulsory to pay the full amount for the house immediately one can start by paying a deposit which is 10% of the total amount. This will be followed by payments made for up to 25 years. The house will remain a property of the housing find until you are able to pay the full amount in the yeas to come. This will enable you to work out a suitable payment plan in the course of the years. The other wonderful thing is that the interest rate is fixed meaning at no particular time will it fluctuate.
Through the Affordable Housing Program, the government will provide houses to many who would have otherwise not owned them. The government promised to make the process as fair as possible, without giving preference to anyone. Of course, there will be other factors that will determine whether you get your desired house or are, such as;
- Time. The early bird catches the worm, that is, those who grab the opportunity first are more likely to get the chance
- Demand across the housing categories
- Status, whether married or unmarried.
Those who fail to get allocation in the initial stage are put on a waiting list to ensure they get priority in other locations.