Centum Real Estate at Centum Investments Company Plc is set to construct 10, 000 affordable housing units in the next five years in the country. Speaking during the 6th East Africa Property Investment Summit in Nairobi, Mr. Samuel Kariuki, Managing Director, Centum Real Estate said the program is mainly driven by the government, the private sector will clearly play a major role in ensuring the housing project is realized.
The 6th Annual East African Property Investment Summit, under the theme ‘Driving Affordability and Opportunity through the Property Value Chain’ provided a platform for the private and public sector to discuss means of reducing inputs, and the overall cost of doing business across the property value chain to create a more affordable and sustainable real estate sector. It also focused on new developing priorities such as the Government’s Affordable Housing Project, infrastructure, warehousing, mixed-use, alternative asset classes and more.
Samuel noted that with the rate of urbanization spearheaded by the devolution of county governments, the demand for real will is projected to grow. He said some of the factors which determine the increased demand for quality real estate are population and demographic growth, infrastructure and government policy and macro-economic benefits. However, he reiterated that public infrastructure will be the key driver for new investments.
He said that real estate development in developing world is still perceived to be a high risk play by many institutional investors. This being a reason why many investors hold back and have let’s wait and see notion. In addition lack of transparency, harsh economic times and corruption have marred a lot of investors from investing in Kenya and Africa.
The Managing Director said lack of institutionalization in real estate in most developing countries acts as deterrent to investors. However, he noted that East Africa is the place to invest with Kenya leading the pack. He noted that foreign investors have a higher appetite for real estate assets compared with our local counterparts.
He said the country has been stable over the past years supported by various fundamentals such as strong savings and credit Sacco’s, increasing diaspora income inflow and a steady holding shilling against the dollar.
Dr. Mbui Wagacha, Senior Economic Advisor urged the government to set up an Affordable Housing Authority which will oversee the implementation of the Affordable Housing Project.