KAMPALA — The housing deficit has overtime sparked conversations not only in Uganda but world over as decent housing continues to be an essential need for humanity and a basic human right.
At a recently held thought leadership forum themed Real Estate Financing in the New Normal, experts stressed the role played by financing in closing the housing deficit in Uganda and other sustainable interventions such as increasing access to micro housing credit products and new construction models that can reduce poverty housing and increase the availability of decent housing units in Uganda.
According to statistics from Habitat for Humanity Uganda, the housing deficit stands at 2.4 million housing units, and the bulk of this deficit is in urban and peri-urban areas. An estimated 900,000 of existing housing units are substandard and in need of replacement or upgrading. In addition, the report cites the Uganda population projected growth at 48 million by 2022 which is anticipated to require more than 3 million more housing units.
Mr. Moses Ssimwogerere, a Financial Inclusion Specialist working with Habitat for Humanity Uganda revealed that, “Through Strategic Poverty Housing Interventions and approaches, Habitat for Humanity has been able to construct decent model homes that cost as low as Ushs. 20 to 30 million for the vulnerable families within communities especially in Eastern Uganda.”
He further explained, “On the housing market development side, Habitat for Humanity provides Institutional Technical Assistance(ITA) to financial institutions like Centenary Bank to develop market driven micro-housing products and services for the low income segments of society with the aim of unlocking the financing bottlenecks that hinder the mass population to access funds and improve/build decent homes of acceptable living standards.
He added that, “Accessing micro housing credit continues to be a challenge for low-income families in Uganda and our partnership with financial institutions like Centenary Bank has been found to be instrumental and helpful in deepening access to financing for the low income earners who cannot afford mortgage products.
“Similarly, the use of innovative construction techniques like the Interlocking Stabilized Brick Technology (ISBT) initiated by Technology for Tomorrow (T4T), is believed to be cost-effective and continues to attract individuals and institutions to start adopting it” says Ssimwogerere.
Commenting on their involvement in Real Estate Financing, Mr. Abdul Kyanika, Manager Housing and Salary Business at Centenary Bank, mentioned that, as a leading Microfinance bank in Uganda, Our Bank has developed products that address our customers’ needs especially on the manageable repayment and flexible periods.
Kyanika further mentioned that, “In line with the country’s real estate financing needs, our customers have access to land procurement, construction financing, and home improvement financing through our loan portfolio namely; Cente Land Loan, Cente Home Loan, Cente Home Improvement Loan, plus the Cente Mortgage Loan raging from a minimum amount of Ushs. 20 million to well over Ushs. 300 million.”
“For this sector to grow on an upward trajectory, we call upon Government to continue to create a conducive atmosphere for the growth of the Real Estate sector, by improving social infrastructures like roads, health centres and utilities like electricity, water supply among others,” Kyanika concluded.
Innovation coupled with financing and proper land tenure system in the long run are set to address the housing deficit while presenting a lucrative avenue for real estate developers and the housing sector as a whole to flourish.