Let’s Pray for a Bungalow

Every one aspires to own some real estate in Kenya.  Some trouble makers may want to know who said so; well now you’re hearing it from me (tweet please). We are such that if you keep acting busy all the time with some sort of job, the only success we want to see is a kaplot either developed or not.

The irony is that some people have built hundreds of flats, bungalows, townhouses, bungalows, castles and other types of houses while others struggle to pay rent for a multi-functional 10 feet by 10 feet single room. I was thinking it would just be easy if banks gave out loans to these poor chaps and have them build a decent place for the many kids they tend to have.

However, and very unfortunately, lending money to the poor folks contravenes the Kenyan Banking Act number one of firsts section 101 – only lend money to people who don’t need it at all. People who need money tend to not to pay it back. This is not necessarily due to inability but because they needed it in the first place – who wants to give away something they need? I think Imperial bank must have broken this rule when they fell for a butchery owner’s tale and did an unthinkable 10billion loan for him – Keroche Industries could only qualify for half of that from a different bank according to recent reports.  It’s not really clear what the lucky butcher must have said but the rest of the bankers took a longer look at imperial bank after the unusual gesture and closed them down.

That explains why an ordinary person isn’t doing very well in the real estate realm. Landing the kind of money that buys land and builds a nice house remains a dream to many. In fact, for some, it has been on the list of New Year resolutions for too long that it has understandably been scrapped for the last few years.  It is now a matter of luck, winning some lottery some day. Even that has a complication – the winnings these days are too little to cover land expenses and the family and friends excitement that come with them.

SACCOs are making a killing promising people easy huge loans. But even for those, they are pegged on one’s income and savings, a factor that is not going so well for random folks.  Yet people are building all over. Nice houses left and centre. You pass them each day, praying, fasting (sometimes not so willingly) and hoping that someday, in an inexplicable way, you will be the proud owner of a bungalow or whatever those  big houses are called. You will be a proud resident of a place that’s arguably not a slum.  My prayers are with you.


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