Dar residents plead for govt investment in residential properties

04Mar 2016
Victor Karega
The Guardian
Dar residents plead for govt investment in residential properties

DAR ES SALAAM residents have called on the government to invest heavily in construction of residential property to ease the city’s housing problem.

Victoria blocks Dar es Salaam

They said lack of affordable options to own property have pushed many into the rental market, which drastically is increasing due to rapid population growth.

Lewis Baraka, a businessman, pointed out that despite the increase in both residential and commercial properties in some parts of the city, most of them remain out of reach for many ordinary city denizens.

He thus called on the government and the responsible ministry to come uo with short and long term measures to assist solve the housing problem.

Baraka noted the urgency for a detailed city plan and urban renewal, including sustainable construction of new homes, remodelling and upgrading of existing ones and the creation and maintenance of public spaces.

“We envision a transformation of our slums to low income housing that can be characterised as a healthy area with water, sanitation, public services and security,” said Baraka.

Prof. Adolf Mascarenhas, Chairman of the Friends of the Museum of Dar es Salaam lashed out at the National Housing Corporation (NHC), saying it has metarmophosed into an institution for the rich.

Jerry Changa, a businessman, stated that the government should instead focus on a ‘rent-to-own’ scheme to help low-income home owners.

“Under this scheme, tenants would eventually get to own the property after paying for a certain number of years. These ‘rent to own’ properties should be developed by the government,” he said.

As the price of land in the country keeps escalating, it will not be possible in the future for developers to continue building affordable housing units. There are also other compliance fees which make such schemes difficult to implement.

Despite the soft property market, there are no visible adjustments in housing prices.

Samuel Ngwenya, observed that one of the means to increasing the supply and availability of affordable rental housing is attracting investment.

According to him, improvements in the area of attracting investment to affordable housing supply will require innovative and collaborative approaches across the private and not for profit sectors.

“The construction industry needs to continue focusing on affordable housing development and work out reasonable measures as well as long-term policies to make it easier for poor people and policy beneficiaries to access buying affordable houses,” said Ngwenya.