NHC to build 11,000 low-cost homes in Kenya’s top cities

National Housing Corporation engineers construct a sample EPS panels house in Nairobi. PHOTO/FILE
National Housing Corporation engineers construct a sample EPS panels house in Nairobi. PHOTO/FILE
Affordable housing provision in Kenya received a major boost last week, with the news that the National Housing Corporation (NHC) is building 11,000 low cost houses in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu and Eldoret.

The state-owned firm is building 3,000 houses along Thika Road; 1,200 houses in Eldoret; 1,000 houses in Kisumu; 1,800 houses in Mombasa and 4,000 houses along Mombasa Road.

The one-bedroom apartments, which will be sold for as low as Sh2 million, will be built using the Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) technology that involves construction of houses by assembling ready-made EPS foam, sandwiched between a galvanised steel wire mesh that is plastered on both sides with concrete.

NHC managing director Wachira Njuguna said: “We are targeting individuals in the lower and middle market segments who want to access decent housing at friendly prices.”

The EPS panels are manufactured at the NHC prefab factory in Mavoko, which began operations in 2012, using polystyrene – the white material used in packaging of electronic goods and are considered favourable as building materials in terms of cost and safety.

A single panel measuring 1.5m x 3.0m costs Sh5,000 at the factory – translating to a cost of Sh1,111 per square metre + transport charges + cost of concrete plasterwork.

The NHC low cost houses will be financed at the corporation’s interest rate of 13 per cent, meaning a buyer will pay about Sh25,300 monthly instalments for 15 years.

READ: NHC prefab houses to boost home ownership

Rising construction costs coupled with high interest rates have for a long time seen developers shying way from building houses for the low cost market segment but many are now shifting their focus to this market.

NHC has developed a Partnership Policy which it intends to use to seek funding and technological know-how to fast track housing development in the country.

In 2010, the state-owned firm signed a deal with Mahan Industries of Iran to supply funding for the initial phase of construction of 4,000 houses in Mlolongo.