Out of reach

04 August 2019 | Columns

Otis Finck

As the housing waiting lists keep on growing, prices for a place to live and call your own continue to skyrocket. The prospect of becoming a home, or shall I rather say room owner as a member of the Namibian house is fading fast for the landless majority.

It appears as if we have actually moved further and further away from ensuring that all Namibians are accommodated over the past 29 years of independence. Is there any truth in accusations that profit hungry tenderpreneurs are charging super charges and deliberately destabilising the market? Is ultra and low cost housing an urban myth?

Realistically looking and taking the current rates and ratios for housing developments into consideration, the way things stand the provision of affordable and low cost housing appears to be a pipe dream.

Looking around I see the cheapest house constructed these days goes for over N$400 000. How can this be cheap in the eyes of the average Namibian who earns less than N$10 000 a month?

Don’t get me wrong. I know nothing is mahala (free) but with such a price tag and income requirements demanded by banks, all the majority can do is fantasize about buying a house in their lifetime.

The trend shows that development costs are not decreasing.

There is definitely a huge gap to bridge. Anything significantly cheaper than what is currently termed as affordable housing on the market, would make a difference and will surely be appreciated by the ordinary man.

What is driving the cost of this expensive exercise culminating in houses being out of reach for those who need it the most (the majority), I wonder?

It is common knowledge that the cost of development is almost double at the coast. Nobody questions the reasons provided to justify the prevailing scenario and status quo.

The time has come that we try and establish the true or let me rather say real cost of urban housing developments.

Is there is no one in the whole of Namibia who can come forward and determine the true cost of low cost development? What do we stand to lose by such an exercise? Are the rates being demanded for property development really user-friendly and have these rates ever being questioned, I ponder.

Who and what guidelines were applicable in determining these rates in the first place? Who govern the rates?

The way things stand, development trends and income disparities are irreconcilable. They should in fact go hand in hand. How will the need for affordable housing ever be addressed?

For this reason profit margins should not determine where true development cost really lies.

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