Urbanis Africa to build Sh5.6bn housing estate NAIROBI, December 13, 2012 – Urbanis Africa today launched its second major real-estate development, as it steps up its quest to meet the growing demand for affordable housing in Kenya. The Nairobi-based low-cost housing development company has entered into a joint venture with a major landowner in Kisaju, Kajiado County, to develop a Sh5.6 billion gated community of 800 homes on a 115-arce piece of land.

Kisaju Plains estate will be adjacent to Kisaju View Park Estate, Urbanis Africa’s flagship estate in the area. Urbanis Africa will invest Sh500 million in the joint venture. “It will be an innovation in the real estate market in Kenya,” Wagane Diouf, the company’s Chief Executive Officer, said. Under the development, consumers will buy one-eighth acre plots with ready titles in a planned estate at a starting price of Sh420,000 each. They will then choose one of the four types of houses with pre-approved plans and enter a construction programme. The options are three bedroom executive bungalow, three bedroom townhouse, four-bedroom townhouse and four bedroom townhouse with Staff accommodation.

The houses will be completed within 18 months, Diouf said, adding that this new approach offers the benefit of a low-entry price and ample time to build the dream house. Urbanis Africa will handle the design and construction of the houses through its subsidiary, Urbanis Studio and Urbanis Construction. Cathy Warega, the head of sales and marketing at Urbanis Africa, said Financing Solution Point, Urbanis’ financing advisory unit, will guide investors on financing.

“The process of buying a home is riddled with complexity and insurmountable obstacles,” he said. “This service enables clients to get advice on financing their homes and obtain hands-on assistance in the mortgage application process.” He said the Kisaju Plains project will boost supply of affordable housing in Kenya, with many real estate investors focused on the high-end market.

About 150,000 units are required per year, according to government statistics, but only less than 30,000 are supplied, leaving an annual deficit of 120,000 houses. Also, Diouf noted that 62 percent of the population living in Africa’s cities – representing 32 million households – live in informal housing where basic services are poor or non-existent. In Kenya 60 percent of households are considered ‘inadequate’ housing and are located in slums because the market lacks affordable houses.

Africa’s population is growing at 2.4 percent a year and it is estimated that by 2030, half of the continent’s people will be living in cities. The African workforce will reach 1.1 billion people by 2040, the largest in the world, according to Mckinsey, and this is expected to push up the demand for urban housing. Mr Diouf added that by 2040 Africa is expected to be the second most urbanised continent after China. “At current urbanisation rates, an additional 14 million housing units per annum are needed in order to accommodate the increasing urban demand,” he said.

Urbanis is managing a number of housing projects already under way which investors can invest in either as homes or rental units. One of them is the Sh5 billion Kisaju View Park, a mixed income community targeting 2,000 residential units and 1,164 commercial units, located in Kajiado.

For more information and clarification, call Cathy Warega on 0733338429 or email [email protected]


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