City housing prices concern Uutoni

Home National City housing prices concern Uutoni

Urban and rural development minister Erastus Uutoni is concerned about housing prices, which he said should not be bitter but must be accommodative and affordable for residents to achieve the basic concept of owning a home. The minister made these remarks last week at the City of Windhoek’s handover of eight houses in Khomasdal. 

The houses were constructed under the Windhoek Municipal Council’s Affordable Housing Pilot Programme. This programme is focusing on constructing houses for low to middle-income residents, and come in reasonable price ranges from N$300 000 to N$650 000, excluding the land.

According to information shared at the event, a 312 square metre house will cost about N$850 000 while a 1000 square metre can be constructed at about N$1.1 million.

The pilot project amounted to a total of N$6.8 million, which the minister said is “public funds well spent”.

“However, my little concern is a 312 square metre costing N$850 000. To me, it’s a bit high. Because we are now focusing to reach those people who cannot afford houses,” said Uutoni. However, he admitted, “you can say it is high input that triggered the price”. 

The minister also made reference to the repo rate that was increased last week by the Bank of Namibia with 25 basis points from 6.75% to 7%. Uutoni noted that this increase will make bond instalments even more expensive, adding that it is imperative that houses give some relief and not add fuel to a raging fire. 

“That monthly instalment that I was paying just shoots up because of these increases. I’m not scaring you, but the future is going to be very tough. Let’s try at least to reduce a little bit on the price so that people will be able to afford it,” said Uutoni.

According to the FNB Namibia residential property report, by the end of March 2022, the average house in Namibia cost N$1.2 million.

Meanwhile, the minister advised the City of Windhoek’s council to put their differences aside and sit together to find amicable solutions for the pressing issues in the wider community. 

He assured that government, through his ministry, is on the move and remains committed to the task of delivering affordable housing to as many Namibians as possible. 

At the same occasion, the City of Windhoek’s acting CEO Faniel Maanda said management had to ensure the recently constructed houses do not devalue the particular neighbourhood where they were constructed but in fact complement it. 

He explained the total cost of the house prices includes the cost of the plots, the materials and the labour. 

“So the city just added a 10% markup to absorb the shocks of price escalation, not our profit. That is what added up to the total price. The city will walk out with no profit here,” said Maanda.