“Offer to purchase” works – Kafula
“After the suspension of auction sales, the genuine need for land is now much easier to determine, using the “offer to purchase” for the “first time buyer” approach,” said the Mayor of the City of Windhoek, Agnes Kafula.
According to Kafula, since taking this approach the City has now created opportunity for those in the middle and low income categories to have access to land.
With the acute shortage of land, the auction method resulted in a situation where only those with deep pockets could afford land.
“At the February Council meeting this year, I announced the suspension of sale of land by auction. As we are all aware, auction sale’s core principle is that the product on sale will be sold to the highest bidder, irrespective of whether that bidder is in dire need or not,” she said.
She said, the City has successfully used the “Offer To Purchase” method for first time buyers at its public–private partnership (PPP) pilot project in Otjomuise Extention 4 and preliminary estimates are that the average price fetched when using the Offer To Purchase method was approximately 50% above the upset price, instead of the 200% to 400% generally realized at auctions.
“However, despite the PPP efforts, there remains a huge backlog of serviced land to cater for the current demand for both housing and commercial development.
It is important to mention that servicing of urban development land requires massive investments, as it involves specialized services,” she said adding that the installation of water and sewerage pipes; construction of roads; installation of bulk and internal reticulation; installation of electrical services; Environmental Impact Assessments; surveying; services design; and town planning; all require expert input and escalate the cost of servicing.
“This clearly indicates that the local authority alone can not cope in addressing this national concern.
We are therefore encouraged by our government’s bold efforts in addressing land and housing shortages, through TIPEEG and the N$45 billion national Mass Housing Project,” said Kafula.
She indicated that the council have already communicated with the Ministry of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development and have since identified tracks of land in the commons for the Mass Housing Project.
In other developments, the mayor informed the public at its recently held monthly council meeting that the Council has approved three demo houses in Otjomuise by Eco Beam, The Wall Group and Ino Investment. She said the three companies were also called to make presentations on the cost aspect of their houses, of which Council is satisfied. “Therefore Council recommend the three companies to qualifying members of the public who are in need of affordable houses.”
“Further details with regard to the prices and designs could be obtained from the aforementioned companies. It is however important to mention that the allocation of land by Council will depend on the number of people interested in the respective affordable housing solutions,” said Kafula.