Govt should restrict the size of land for personal homes

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An aerial view of the Kibagabaga housing estate. File.

Editor,

Re: New measures to meet housing needs unveiled (The New Times, Feb 12)

It is good news that the government is considering all means to making housing affordable. But after reading this article, as an economist, I am very worried about this acquisition of land by districts.

The article did not give more details about this. But, of course, one may already conclude that the acquisition of land by districts will be done by buying land from the population through expropriation.

This is a bad idea and here is why. If the government buys land from the people then it means the number of buyers has increased which drives competition up and price goes up.

Think about it; land is a limited resource. There is nothing the government can do to reduce its price other than regulate the size of land people are allowed to use and define how land can be used efficiently.

For example, if you say that only a 15mx20m is the maximum size of land that is allowed, then economically it will be like you have increased the size of land which is available because more pieces of land will be made available.

Another thing, you can impose people on what types of buildings they can build. We need to stop spoiling land and start living in apartments.

Forget about this strategy of the government entering the market to create the land banks. It will simply make things worse. Instead, put in place regulatations of how to use land and restrict the size of land a person can own; stop people from owning big pieces of land as well: it is part of the problem.

Jean Leon Iragena (Canada)

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We cannot build cheap houses when designers are not only doing mediocre job but also not factoring in cost in their designs.

Just look at those concrete structures in front of each unit in the new Kibagabaga estate. I believe they added at least a couple of thousand dollars to the cost of each unit. This is the problem of cut and paste.

I remember seeing a similar project in India. I was also surprised by the price of those units.

From the outside, they look like any housing unit you could find in any major first world city but the inside finishing lives a lot to be desired. And yet, their cost is out of reach for many Rwandans.

Semugeshi