The New Times (Kigali)

31 August 2012

East Africa: Nation to Host Regional Housing Expo

KENYA is set to hold the second regional housing expo to provide a platform for stakeholders in the building and construction industry next week amid 1.5 million housing deficit in the East Africa region.

The East African Housing & Construction Expo 2012 to be held from Sept.6-9 in Nairobi targets to bridge up the housing units per year because the supply of homes continues to lag the population growth currently at over 130 million.

"The demand for home ownership in the region has risen steadily in the last one year due to increase in income levels and steady population growth, although supply has failed to match the pace," Phoenix Media Solutions Limited Director Samson Kiteng'e said in Nairobi on Wednesday.

The average shortage in annual supply of housing in Kenya has more than doubled to 400,000 units since the last real estate census was done three decades ago.

The Ministry of Housing reveals a high growth in informal settlements due to shortage of decent homes.

The national housing deficit is high because the supply of homes continues to lag the population growth. The forum will bring together property developers, financiers, real estate agents, interiors designers and manufacturers & suppliers from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi.

Construction industry in Kenya is expected to see tremendous growth occasioned by the rise in population and the government spending on major infrastructure projects across the country.

The exhibitors will be able to interact face-to-face with their visitors and be able to come up with a database of active and potential clients. In this way, they will also get to understand the needs of their customers more so that they are able to find ways of satisfying all their needs.

"The East African Housing Expo is all set to become a regular regional event for the property industry along with the endorsement of the Ministry of Housing and other relevant authorities in the East African Community," Kiteng'e said.

A recent survey by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics indicates that Uganda has a housing deficit of 550,000 units. About 160,000 of this backlog is in urban areas. Kampala alone has a housing deficit of 100,000 units.

Uganda's population of 31 million, which is growing at a rate of 3.3 percent per year, is projected to increase to 45 million by 2020.

Burundi requires about 250,000 new homes annually. The first step to building 250,000 homes is finding the land to put them on.

This is not easy in a country with one of the highest population densities in Africa. It is the perfect avenue for the marketers to educate the visitors on the different services and products of housing and property management.

The Rwanda Housing Authority (RHA) says that a study is underway to determine the supply and demand of the houses in Kigali. Recent official figures show that Rwanda needs 25,000 new housing units every year. Kateng'e said the mortgage market has also grown in the last few years. With a wide-range of mortgages on offer, the stock of new housing available to mortgage buyers around the region has almost doubled.

Tanzania has embarked on the plan to build 15,000 houses to curb the severe housing shortage in the country. The state-owned National Housing Corporation (NHC) says the housing shortage has been growing at an alarming rate at the rate of 200,000 houses per year. By 2015, NHC plans to build more houses in 4 more cities.

Source: Xinhua

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