Kenya faces a serious shortage of quality houses for an increasing population that is expected to hit 62 million by 2030. According to the latest Kenya Economic Report, over 60 per cent of this population will be living in urban areas.
“Current estimates indicate that the country needs to build up to 150,000 housing units annually... However, only 23 per cent of this demand is being met.”
The shortfall, the report adds, is more acute among low-income households whose present demand is about 48 per cent of all new housing required.
“Currently, more than 80 per cent of new houses are for high and upper middle-income earners. “However, because more than 60 per cent of the Kenyan population is younger than 25 years, it is clear that the demand for adequate housing will rise steadily as those aged 20 and below reach adulthood and start family life,” the report says.
It identifies increasing the volume of funding towards construction of low and middle-income housing as one of the major challenges facing the housing sector. It also advocates reducing the cost of construction, increasing the speed of rolling out housing projects and reviewing the regulations to allow for new and innovative technologies for faster and cheaper housing construction as policy challenges.
“In order to ensure that the construction industry delivers physical infrastructure and quality housing in a timely and cost-effective manner, the priority in the sector is to develop and implement a comprehensive construction industry development policy,” Kippra says.
The report recommends contracting foreign construction companies, in the short term, but also points out the need for them to collaborate with local contractors to help them build their capacity to undertake large projects in the future.