24 January 2013

Kenya: Govt Housing Data Due in March

Nairobi — The Ministry of Housing has announced that it will release the government's official housing data on March 31 following a housing survey done last year.

The Permanent Secretary at the ministry Tirop Kosgey said for a long time, investors in the housing sector and the government have relied on estimates from surveys done by researchers in the private sector.

The ministry is working with Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) to compile the data after the survey was completed in November last year.

The last housing survey done by the government was in 1977.

"The data collected from the National Housing Survey will actually give us the true status of the sector in the country. This includes housing in urban and rural areas. Like in the urban areas we would like to know at what pace the slums are growing and if so, what should be done," Kosgey said.

It is estimated that the need for new housing in urban areas currently stands at 150,000 units annually while only 30 percent of this demand is being met.

In rural areas, estimates show that over 300,000 housing units require improvements each year while the gap between supply and demand is more relevant to low and middle income households which represent 48 percent of the required new houses.

The lack of appropriate housing in the country has eventually resulted in the expansion of informal settlements such as slums.

PS Kosgey however said some of the figures about the sector may change after new government data is released in March including the annual housing demand and supply gap figures.

"It is necessary to get well derived information to inform the market on the true status of the housing sector. It will help the investors to know issues to do with income so that they can tell on areas to invest," Kosgey said.

He was speaking during a stakeholders' workshop on Thursday organised by the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) on Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITS) in the country.

REITS are regulated investment vehicles that enable collective investment in real estate where investors, both retail and corporate, are allowed to pool their funds under the umbrella of the REIT and then engage in real estate projects.

CMA says it is in the final stages of coming up with a framework that will facilitate the financing and managing of REITS.

"The remaining steps include the gazettement of REITS regulations, refining the amendments to the income tax and capacity building within the regulator and the industry," said CMA acting chief executive officer Paul Muthaura.

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