The National Housing and Construction Company â€“NHCC â€“ has said it intends to build over 7,500 housing units to address the housing needs among the low income earners in Uganda. Caleb Kakuyo, the NHCC Chief Commercial Officer, told Uganda Radio Network that the company intends to engage in mass production by building houses in large quantities at low cost per unit to cater for the low income earners, who comprise the greatest proportion of the population.
Until now the company has constructed houses mostly for high and middle income earners. The current residential housing units of 2 and 3 bed rooms are located in prime areas and are priced at a range of 1.2 to 3 million shillings in monthly rent. However, the low income earners also look set to benefit from the new plan.
Caleb Kakuyo, the NHCC Chief Commercial Officer, told Uganda Radio Network –URN – that the company intends to engage in mass production by building houses in large quantities at low cost per unit to cater for the low income earners, who comprise the greatest proportion of the population.
Some of the low income housing projects include Kireka with a planned 3,000 units, 2,447 in Bukerere, 192 flats in Luzira, 154 houses in Mukono, 732 units in Namungoona II, III and IV, 120 flats in Mbarara, and 920 town houses in Lubowa.
The planned projects are expected to begin as soon as government enters into a partnership with NHCC to provide infrastructure. The development, it is hoped, would help to address the housing gap, which is worse in urban areas.
Statistics from NHCC indicates that the housing need ranges from a deficit of 211,000 in urban areas to 1,292,000 in rural areas.
Kakuyo explained that the housing sector is faced with numerous problems such as construction finance, land, low income of customers, lack of government support, infrastructure, construction capacity and technology.
He said the problems include an absence of finance to construct a series of projects, significant delays at the lands registry, poor road network, high transport costs, an under developed formal estate marketing and low conformity with standards.
URN has established that there is an absence of research on housing in the country. However, a source at NHCC said they have conducted housing market research twice in 2000 and 2006 but it was not possible to access the reports.
A research report titled: Africa Report 2013 by Knight Frank, a property consultancy firm, says that a high interest rate intended to fight inflation has led to increased stringent lending criteria, which caused sluggish housing market for much of 2012, particularly in the mid-price bracket, with a sharp reduction in the number of purchases.
The report adds that there was an increase in the number of houses for sale from owners unable to cope with higher repayments of loans. It however predicted a relief and a more active residential market this year owing to a reduction in the lending rate, which fell to 12 percent.
Recently, the Uganda Bureau of Statistics announced it was embarking on data collection of the real estate sector, which is largely private sector dominated.