LOOKING for a house let alone renting one in Honiara is indeed a tough ask for many people nowadays.
Houses are hard to find and even harder to build but since the early 1990s a name that has been heavily associated with houses, land, and estates is local businessman Abraham Eke or AE as he is most commonly known.
Starting a business requires plenty of money, and Eke had very little, so he decided to resign from his job as a senior bank officer of CBSI bank and ask if he could borrow some money.
Unfortunately the bank didn’t approved his loan so he started farming, selling a variety of crops.
After two years of solid work he expanded his enterprise into poultry and pigs.
Later, he went to Auki and bought a fuel station called Island fuel station.
Since then he made more money and officially started his building business in 1996.
He loved the freedom of running his own business because he believed that the demand for houses is constantly changing every year.
He became interested in the building business because he had an interest in buying and selling land as well as providing housing for people.
Located in Kombivatu, East Kola ridge, Eke’s housing estate has developed rapidly over the past years with more than 102 houses built.
Eke said when people take a moment to consider their most important property as land it stands to reason that building a home on it is the most important thing in life.
As well as running his own business, Eke also puts a lot of energy into finding out ways to help people in his community.
The key to any business, he said, is to find a good product that people want “but most importantly you must sell it at an affordable price.”
“Likewise in my business, the houses I rent I only charge $2,000 per month for two bedroom houses, $3,000 for 3 bedroom houses and $4,000 for four bedroom houses.”
Though currently Eke has no houses for rent.
He is concentrating on sub-dividing, selling land for $45,000-60,000 per plot.
Eke’s wife Mary said Eke always had a vision of buying undeveloped land and building a residential estate at its grandest scale.
“Our housing estate business improves and beautifies residential housing and at the same time includes road maintenance, streetlights, and two general stores as well as a bakery, the ‘Island bakery’ that serves everyone in the community,” Mrs Eke said.
“People are becoming modernized when it comes to having a breakfast in the morning, bread, butter and Milo is definitely the best,” she said.
A housing estate can improve the lives of those who have no shelter while at the same time benefiting the local economy.
The Ekes are currently finalizing their next project aimed at bringing in essential services to the people of Kombivatu.
“My husband and I are going to fund a clinic and a police post for the community at Kombivatu area,” she said.
Eke said the main reason behind this next proposed project was to help people in Kombivatu to maintain good health and to prevent crime rates within the community.
Abraham Eke never let things stand still. He said, he always looking at ways to improve the service to his customers.