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Building A Decent House At Shs30-50m Is Possible-Housing Finance Bank

 Housing Finance Bank says one can build a decent house from Shs30m upwards

Housing Finance Bank Wednesday evening tipped Ugandans on how to achieve affordable housing.

This was during a Twitter Spaces hosted jointly by the Bank and media personality, Moses Rudende.

The discussion comes as statistics show that Uganda has a deficit of 2.4 million housing units.

Further, the statistics note that Uganda’s requirements for decent housing continue to grow at an estimated rate of 200,000 units per  year yet unmatched supply remains a big issue.

John B. Kaweesi, the Head of Mortgage & Consumer Banking at Housing Finance Bank, Hillary Bamulinde – Real Estate Entrepreneur, Dativa Byabagambi – Head Strategy – Makao Kwetu and Peter Kalangwa, the Head of Strategy & Business Analysis at Housing Finance Bank dissected and tipped the public on how to own a house without having to break the bank.

Panelists agreed on one thing: That housing is a critical challenge to Ugandans.

Kalangwa noted that it requires concerted efforts to tackle housing deficit and that it calls for approaches from many players like the Banks, government and developers among others.

While Bamulinde admits that issues of housing are a critical challenge, he says that there are ways that ought to be adopted to attract investment in the housing sector.

According to Bamulinde, Public Private Partnerships (PPPs), extending public amenities (utilities and social services, security), encouraging partnerships between developers and land owners such as government, churches, land boards, policies, Kingdoms and providing tax exemptions on materials among others might entice one to get interested in developing an area.

Byabagambi says that the challenge in the sector has been worsened by among others increased prices of land, high cost of construction materials, limited access to funding opportunities and planning.

But Bamulinde notes that while financing may be a challenge, a lot needs to be put in place.

“Housing is good for an adult and it’s emotionally and traditionally satisfying but it has to be based on finances. An unfinished house is worse than a piece of land. Housing needs to be planned. Look at it as long a term investment. You need to put in a lot of financial planning. We over rely on builders and end up in an expensive project. This comes in when we rely on the builders,” Bamulinde says.

Talking about financing, Kaweesi says Housing Finance Bank has friendly rates tailored to match customers’ needs.

He admits that the housing remains a big challenges for the low income earners like boda-boda riders and market vendors among others.

He says this is why the Bank has offers under ‘Zimba Mpola Mpola’ campaign where a customer is able to borrow as low as Shs200, 000.

This campaign, he adds, is deliberately targeting women and directly promoting women participation in owning houses. Secondly, Kaweesi says, the Bank is also focusing on the Environmental Social Governance aspect. According to Kaweesi, the Bank not only gives loans, but it also offers financial advisory.

Explaining this further, Kalangwa says repayment is tailored to meet the customer’s desire. Zimba Mpola repayment plan is based on the ability of the customer, Kalangwa says.

“We have up to 20 years (for one to repay the loan). But we have also seen those that come asking for 2 to 3 years. We do 10 – 15 years but we have also seen those that pay before the 20-year period,” he says.

Bamulinde notes that the reasons why the cost of building is expensive is the cost of input.

He says one must do prior financial planning.

According to Kaweesi, apart from the cost of land, a customer is able to build a house of  Shs30 million or Shs50 million depending on one’s desire.

“The bigger the house, the higher the expenses. Costs go down to an individual. You don’t have to compete with anyone. Construction isn’t a short term venture. Look at your financial position. You can build incrementally,” Kaweesi says.

However, Byabagambi suggests that the government intervenes to regulate the housing sector. She advises investors to trust companies to build on their behalf because they know what to do.

In their parting shots, Kalangwa appealed to the public to think of new designs and to embrace new ways of housing and financing.

Bamulinde notes that if you can’t build to finish, “you would rather buy plots of land and in future sell two or three of those plots and build on the remaining plot of land.”

“Invest in land, land is easier to sell than an unfinished house,” Bamulinde says.

Don’t work alone, Kaweesi warns and adds that “Housing Finance Bank isn’t about giving loans or mortgages but about advisory as well.”

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