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Housing shortage lures steel manufacturer into homes construction

Elly Gitau speaks to Saif Real Estate director Said Mohammed, about the real estate firm positioning itself as an affordable housing solutions provider

How was Saif Real estate conceptualised?

Our directors had actively been involved in the building and construction industry as steel manufacturers for one year when we noted a gap in the housing market. They felt the need to address it by providing high quality, but affordable homes for Kenyans.

What do you envision?

Our vision is to be a leading modern housing solutions provider that resonates with the pulse of the market. We aim at delivering high quality, luxurious housing developments at affordable costs.

Why did you settle on real estate and not other sectors of economy?

We already had an idea of the real estate market as we were manufacturing steel, so it was easy for us to venture into construction. Also, we had observed the real estate sectors relationship to inflation; as inflation goes up, housing values and rents also rise.

So, we saw an opportunity for investments. We target the upper middle class, first and second time homebuyers, high-end luxury buyers, sellers, investors and recreational buyers.

How do you ensure your projects are not compromised?

We work with some of the best architects and building contractors in the market to ensure we don’t compromise on quality. While at it, we strive to capture the pulse of the property market by packaging our clients’ needs to help them realise their dreams. This way, we are able to create not just homes, but a lifestyle via a flexible payment plan.

What are your future projections?

Our projection is to complete our first project, the Woodville Apartments in Nairobi’s South C by the end of 2019.Woodsville has been sold out. Our second project, Roseville Apartments in Kilimani, is due for completion in March 2021. We are launching our third project in three months time. How can potential buyers learn more about your products?

Saif Real Estate will hold an open day from June 29 to July 1 in our Roseville Project site near Monarch Hotel in Kilimani estate during working hours. Our aim is to meet potential residential apartments buyers and present them with incredible offers that we have initiated on that project.

We are selling the apartments at Sh16 million, but buyers during the open day will enjoy a Sh0.8 million discount. The apartments are three bedroomed all ensuite plus a servants quarter, with  a gym and a heated swimming pool. The project has 90 units on 15 floors.

Housing is one of the Big Four agendas set by the State. How do you plan to help achieve this?

We are currently in communication with the government to work together to provide quality and cheaper housing. Already, we have a 12-year payment plan at zero per cent interest.

A buyer has to make a 10 per cent deposit then, since it’s an off plan project, the construction period will take two-and-a-half years. Each month, you pay Sh271,000 then you will remain with nine-and-a-half years to pay Sh55,000 per month. The house is handed to you after construction.

We hardly get inquiries from mortgage buyers. We advise them to provide letters from the bank showing how they will be financed during construction stage and also make a deposit to book as they wait financing. 

How can Kenya’s housing shortage be solved?

By building affordable and good quality houses to stem the growth of informal settlements (slums). Lack of finance is one major issue, which can be eased by introducing cheap and long-term payment plans for potential home or house buyers and investors. The State also needs to improve access to land and provide basic infrastructure such as roads, water and electricity.

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