FBW and Fusion to create large-scale affordable housing strategy

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Leading East African planning, design, architecture and engineering team FBW Group is working with Fusion Capital, one of the region’s most successful real estate developers, to create a low-cost, affordable housing strategy in Kenya.

FBW has been appointed as consultant to help develop the plan. The group, which is celebrating 25 years in East Africa, has a strong track record in the planning, design and delivery of volume housing projects.

Fusion Capital is a private firm which started life in 2006 and has grown to be one of the largest and most successful real estate developers and asset managers in East Africa.

Together, Fusion and FBW are putting together a large-scale, low-cost housing strategy to deliver affordable homes for people in Kenya earning less than US$500 a month. The ultimate aim is to roll the development plan out across the region.

Fusion is known for its success in funding, completing, and managing East African developments across various real estate sectors.

It has successfully planned, funded, and developed projects valued at more than US$200m over the past 14 years.

An experienced commercial real estate developer, with almost 1 million square feet of living and working spaces developed, it has now decided to build on its experience in residential development and asset management to focus on the affordable housing market.

Housing remains a major challenge in Kenya and across East Africa. The World Bank has estimated that 200,000 housing units are needed annually in Kenya, but the supply stands at only 50,000.

To try and close that gap the Kenyan government has launched a programme to build 500,000 new affordable homes by 2022.

Since 1969, the country’s population has grown at a compounded annual growth rate of three per cent and there are now more than 47.5m people living in Kenya. However, the country only had 26,504 active mortgages at the end of 2018, according to research.

The World Bank also estimates that by 2050, 50 per cent of the Kenyan population will be living in the urban centres.

Antje Eckoldt, FBW Group director and its Kenya country manager, said: “We are working with Fusion Group to create a large-scale, low-cost housing strategy that will deliver truly affordable homes and we look forward to unveiling it with them in 2021.

“It is a challenging task, but we believe that it will play a major role in the drive to close the housing gap in Kenya and other East African countries.

“We are using all our experience in the planning, design and delivery of volume housing projects to create innovative solutions that will meet budget requirements, while delivering homes of real quality.”

She added: “As with all our work, the design and delivery of sustainable building solutions and green principles is an integral part of our thinking, along with the use of locally sourced materials and skills.”

FBW has operations in Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda, as well as a base in Manchester in the UK. It is a major player in the region’s construction and development sector.

James Maclean, director of real estate at Fusion Capital in Kenya, said FBW’s experience and innovation would play a key role in developing a successful strategy.

He said: “We are looking to build on our extensive experience in residential development and asset management to focus on the affordable housing market. Creating a workable strategy is key to this.

“We believe there is a real gap in the sector. Much of the housing currently described as being ‘low-cost‘ is actually only affordable to those in the middle-income bracket. That is something we are looking to change.

“The fact is that something like 74 per cent of Kenyan workers earn less than $500 dollars a month. That really puts properties on the market for $20,000 upwards out of their reach.”

He added: “We’re very excited by the strategy that we are developing and the design, architecture and engineering experience that FBW is bringing to the project.

“Our aim is to officially launch it in Kenya and we aim to roll it out across East Africa over several years.”