20 February 2013

Kenya: Union Helps Members Climb Property Ladder

A new housing union in Thika is helping its members step on to the property ladder faster, barely seven months since it burst into the scene.

Urithi Housing Co-operative Society Ltd, which derives its name from the Swahili word for inheritance, has specialised in buying land and subdividing it for sale to its members at subsidised prices than market value. It currently has about 800 members.

The union's chairman Samuel Maina says it will ride on its unique edge of pooling funds together to help its membership reap the gains of economics of scale in property acquisition and ownership.

Urithi HCSL launched its flagship project in January, a gated controlled development christened Olive Villas, which is located behind Mang'u High School. It is selling plots in the project at Sh495,000, with buyers allowed to pay in instalments, after which they will build homes from

The union is still recruiting membership till the end of 2013. A member pays Sh1,000 for registration and an additional Sh25,000 for purchase of a minimum five shares at Sh5,000 each. Members are allowed to hold more than five shares but in bunches of fives, for which they receive share certificates upon payment.

Member benefits range from subsidised property prices, loans, savings basket, paying for properties in instalments, to bi-annual dividends.

Urithi HCSL also has a project dubbed 'own-a-room' in which it is organising groups of members with common interest of investing in rental houses or moving out of rented space to own their own houses. The houses can be owner-occupier, let or sold.

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