Kafula disturbed by mismatch between supply and demand

OTAVI: Windhoek mayor Agnes Kafula is concerned about the existing mismatch between housing supply and demand in Namibia.

Kafula, who is also president of the Association of Local Authorities in Namibia (ALAN), was speaking at a one-day mass housing conference held in Otavi on Saturday.

The Otavi Investment Expo and Festival’s organising committee invited different local authority councillors and chief executive officers (CEO) to the conference to discuss matters related to Government’s Mass Housing development programme.

Kafula said addressing the imbalances between housing supply and demand will not only unleash the full potential of the housing market, but will also contribute to the economy and likewise address the social aspects related to sustainable and affordable housing.

She attributed this mismatch to the shortage of serviced land. “The shortage of serviced land and the costs involved in servicing the land is prohibitively high, which limits the provision of affordable housing in the country,” she stated.

The unprecedented increase in house prices also continues to reduce the economic ability of the majority of the population to access housing.

The increasing costs of building materials are another factor pushing up the prices of houses in the country.

Kafula said complex land development processes and land registration procedures hinder low to middle-income-earners from owning houses as well.

“A general perception also exists that property valuators, developers and real estate agents unnecessarily inflate house prices to make maximum profits since they know that there is a high housing demand in the market,” she noted.

Furthermore, fees charged by lawyers for the handling of property transfers is one of the contributing factors which put house prices in Namibia out of reach of the majority of low-income-earners.

Meanwhile, the Mass Housing development conference in Otavi was officially opened by the Deputy Minister of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development, Priscilla Beukes, on behalf of her Minister Charles Namoloh.

President Hifikepunye Pohamba on 26 November 2013 launched Government’s Mass Housing development programme in the capital.

He said at the launch that Government – through the National Housing Enterprise (NHE) – envisioned building over 185 000 houses in different towns around the country in less than 17 years.