Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Housing sector needs 1million units

The State Minister for Housing has said Uganda is in dire need of more than 1.7million housing units to curb the escalating accommodation challenges.

Mr Michael Werikhe said 100,000 housing units are urgently needed in Kampala City alone and 1.6 countrywide .

He was on December 5 officiating at the rebranding of Hossana Properties Ltd, a real estate company as Canaan Properties Limited at Grand Imperial Hotel.

The housing shortfall has forced hundreds of urban dwellers into slums where they are prone to several ailments, while an upsurge in rent charges has been felt in the inadequate desirable shelter.

The increasing growth of urban centres countrywide compels the Housing Ministry to come up with guidelines that will contribute to planned development with a focus on decent shelter to curtail the growth of slums.

Since Uganda is based on private sector-led growth strategies, Mr Werikhe said real estate companies play a significant role in providing decent accommodation.

“I would like therefore to commend Canaan Properties and other real estate providers to spread their operations countrywide in offering affordable accommodation. This will improve the housing conditions,” he said.

Mr Werikhe said the expansion of the role of the private markets has formed the central thesis of the ‘enabling strategy’ for developing the housing sector.

He said that government through infrastructure development policy, indirectly supports the institutional development of the land and housing markets through the private sector in order to prevent internal constraints in the housing industry based on more efficient market mechanisms.

Ms Theopista Ntale Sekitto, the head of wholesale banking at dfcu said the Bank has being supporting mortgage financing for the last six years to meet the growing demand for housing in the country.

“dfcu is committed and will continue providing mortgage and land financial service through honest real estate companies,” she said.

The Managing Director of Canaan Properties Limited, Mr Sam Wabasa said the company is partnering with banks such as dfcu, Orient and PostBank to enable Ugandans acquire houses cheaply through mortgage financial services.