By CONRAD ONYANGO
Mortgage firm, Housing Finance, will roll out its real estate services to the counties to tap opportunities beginning next year.
The venture will be facilitated by housing development centres that the firm is constructing. This is expected to double the firm’s customer base in the next one year and enhance awareness creation on mortgage, housing services and market trends.
Speaking when the firm opened the first development centre in Kitengela, Housing Finance managing director, Frank Ireri, revealed they will open 20 sales and service centres by next year and 30 more by 2017. These he said will tap huge business potential in terms of profits and mortgage sales.
“This venture will enable us expand our footprints to where we have not yet reached. Through this, Housing Finance will double its current 50,000 customer base. This will also enable us reach our target to be top 10 in banking and housing solutions,” said Ireri.
“We want to encourage mortgage through attraction of new customer market segment in this growth region of the Nairobi Metropolis,” he added.
Isinya District Commissioner, Hassan Ali Bule, termed the move timely, adding that it will help meet the rising demand for housing.
He said it was a strategic move for the mortgage firm to launch the centre in the area since it is the source of construction materials.
He said the area has a rapid population growth, which will provide ready market for housing facilities.
“We have more cement, stones and other construction materials in Kitengela. These coupled with the new centre, will spur development in the area as we seek to address housing shortages,” said Bule.
The move comes at a time when the country is planning to embark on a comprehensive National Housing Survey that seeks to ensure enough data on housing is available to ease planning and address challenges in the sector.
Lack of information on housing trends has been attributed to risks in purchase of land parcels and other transactions rendering customers susceptible to fraudsters.
At the same time Ireri rooted for public, private partnership saying it will enhance provision of adequate infrastructure in urban areas to enable industry players deliver affordable housing in large scale.
Ireri also exuded confidence that if Parliament passes the Housing Bill, more funds will be available to address housing shortages.
The Urban Areas and Cities Bill is a key legislation that gives effect to devolution as enshrined in article 184 of the Constitution. Its enactment will enable identification, classification, governance and management of urban areas and cities.
It also provides for participation by residents in the governance of urban areas and cities. This with the Environment and Land Court Bill will see the establishment of a court to hear and determine issues to environment, and the use and occupation of and title to land, once enacted.
“Housing finance long term business fundamental are in place and the firm is well positioned with strong capital base, volumes and experience to explore opportunities in major urban centers,” said Ireri.
The demand for housing stands at between 150,000 to 200,000 units in urban areas.