The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Home Builders Hit By Land-Use Change Delays

Property developers are facing hurdles in changing land-use from agricultural to commercial, putting the brakes on supply of new-builds.

Apparently, home builders are unable to obtain "straightforward certification", a situation that has resulted in projects stalling at planning stages.

"This process is so fraught, and in some areas now so far delayed, that we are seeing multiple projects stalled," said Caroline Kariuki, a mortgage broker.

The procedural issue, if unresolved, is seen likely to affect volumes of houses being offloaded in the market, just when demand is returning after a year's lull.

The hurdles are emerging from fears in the new land laws as well as an outcry from the agricultural sector to stop transfer of huge chunks of farmland into mixed-use developments.

"The volume of land going into housing at present is still low. It is no solution to stop conversion of land, instead, it's better to utilise the remaining volumes - which are vast - with better agricultural technology such as quality seeds and fertiliser for higher yields," said Jenny Luesby, a consultant for the Hass Property Index.

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