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Housing Finance Falls Most in Month on Mortgages: Nairobi Mover

April 26 (Bloomberg) -- Housing Finance Ltd., Kenya’s only publicly traded mortgage lender, fell for a second day and headed for its biggest decline in more than a month on concern reduced borrowing may curb future profit.

The stock dropped 3.6 percent to 14.70 shillings by 2:28 p.m. in Nairobi, the capital, the strongest retreat since March 19 on a closing basis.

First-quarter sales dropped 38 percent to 2 billion shillings ($24 million), Housing Finance said in a statement on April 24, attributing the decline to a fall in mortgage uptake because of higher interest rates.

“The fall in mortgage sales is going to affect their near-term performance,” Faith Atiti, a research assistant at Nairobi-based Sterling Investment Bank, said.

Kenya’s central bank has maintained interest rates at a record 18 percent since December after inflation surged amid a regional drought that drove food prices higher and increased fuel prices. The inflation rate fell for a fourth month to 15.61 percent in March from 16.69 percent in February, the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics said last month.

Net income climbed to 133.6 million shillings in the three months through March, from 120.1 million shillings a year earlier, the company said in an emailed statement on April 24.

To contact the reporter on this story: Eric Ombok in Nairobi at eombok@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Richardson in Nairobi at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net.

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