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Resolving Kenya’s Housing Crisis

In Kenya, the right to housing is embedded in the constitution, which provides that “Every person has the right to accessible and adequate housing, and to reasonable standards of sanitation.” Kenya needs to build 250,000 units annually for at least four years to plug its cumulative housing deficit of two million units. The lowest cost of a new house is estimated at $11,000 (KSh1.1 million), and only about 11% of Kenyans earn enough to support a mortgage. Public and private housing developers have previously concentrated on the middle and high-income groups. The government pledged to build 500,000 housing units for the lower and middle-income population segments by 2022. The units were to be sold at a price range of US$6,000 to US$30,000. But by the end of 2021, the five-year plan had yielded only 431 units or 0.8% of the target. Provision of affordable housing remains a problem, not only for developing countries like Kenya, but also many developed countries. The rapid increase in urban population, high cost of construction, finance costs, and escalating prices of urban land are hurdles in Kenya.