7 November 2018

Rwanda: Eligible Applicants for Vision City Apartments to Be Announced This Month

Over 300 apartments at Vision City are still up for grabs by qualified civil servants.

Eligible applicants for the homes offer are set to be announced by the end of this month, The New Times has learned.

Last month, prices for apartments at the plush estate in Kigali's upscale neighbourhood of Gaculiro were reduced by 60 per cent exclusively for public servants who seek to own their first homes and are at a grade not above head of department or equivalent.

The announcement for reduced prices was made by the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and Ultimate Developers Ltd (UDL).

The latter is a real estate company owned by the Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB) and they are the ones who developed the Vision City housing project.

Under the offer, eligible public servants will be able to buy a two, three or four-bedroom apartment at the estate at a subsidized price.

The deadline to apply has passed and selection and verification of eligible applicants is currently on-going.

The acting CEO at UDL, Alice Ntamitondero, told The New Times on Tuesday that civil servants who qualified to apply for the offer will be announced by the end of the month and they will proceed to talk to their banks to see if they can acquire mortgages for the new homes.

"They will be able to go to the bank and ask for loans but at least they will be eligible to apply for this offer as first home-owners who are civil servants and banks will decide whether they can get loans to acquire the homes," she said.

Ntamitondero said that under the offer for public servants, 304 apartments are up for grabs.

As part of the offer, a 2-bedroom apartment will be sold at Rwf63,000,000, down from the standard price of Rwf108 million (about $125,300).

An apartment of three bedrooms, which normally goes for Rwf163 million (about $188,300) will go for Rwf94,000,000 in case the buyer is an eligible civil servant.

A 4-bedroom apartment, that ordinarily goes for Rwf187 million (about $215,600), will cost a public servant Rwf108,000,000.

For those seeking to take a loan to buy a home at the estate, banks shall give a loan at 11 per cent repayable over a period of 20 years. The equity contribution of 10 per cent normally required by local commercial banks for a normal mortgage loan will be optional.

Those who will fully rely on the bank loan 100 per cent will pay a little more when it comes to servicing their mortgage compared to those who will make a personal contribution of 10 per cent toward the cost.

Monthly loan instalments to be paid by civil servants who will take the offer will range between Rwf585,000 to Rwf1,120,000 depending on the chosen apartment and mode of payment.

Applications for the housing units were open between October 16-31, 2018, while the announcement of feedback to successful applicants is expected to be made by end of the month.

Explaining the rationale behind the offer, the Head of Communication at RDB, Sanny Ntayombya, said that it will help public servants remain stable at their jobs as they will have a home at a relatively reasonable price.

"It's a way of retaining talent for the Government as well as assisting young civil servants in purchasing their first homes. It's about those who don't have a home to buy their first home at rates that are manageable," he said last month.

But criticism of the offer remains rife as many analysts say that it is beyond the means of average public servants in the country.

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