Recently, a study conducted by the World Bank on home ownership in Kenya revealed that a paltry 16,000 homes have been sold through mortgages since independence.
This clearly shows that over 99 % of Kenyans have resulted to other ways of home ownership.
Most of the homes in Kenya are built without the aid of mortgages.
The average Kenyan will first buy land then they continue to build their home slowly over time.
To make housing affordable, the key ingredients of a house must be addressed. These ingredients are
1. Land
2. Design and construction project management.

Land has continued to rise steeply around urban areas in Kenya. This is because the Government cannot keep up with increasing new infrastructure [roads and water]. Therefore, land that is near a road and has tap water becomes scarce hence high demand.
For example, along Kangundo road past Kamulu in the KBC area, land is available in plenty at a low cost but there is no tap water, no security and no all-weather internal road networks . This results in many people buying the lands for speculation as they keep their fingers crossed hoping that the Government will one day assist in laying down the much needed infrastructure. Click here for available land for sale along the Eastern Bypass


The recent completion of the Eastern bypass from City Cabanas along Mombasa road to Juja has gone a long way in opening up new lands for housing. This is a commendable step by the Government in opening up new lands through infrastructure. Land along this bypass is rising very fast in cost due to the demand hence an urgent need for more areas to be opened up.
The Land Commission should also act up and make the necessary legal framework that discourages individuals/companies from hoarding large vast lands without utilizing them. This will result to such land being put up for sale to ease the land shortage.
Lands along Thika road in areas such as Kamuthi Housing scheme in Kiganjo whereby thousands of acres are being put up for sale to home owners is the way to go for the moment.
Tatu city in Ruiru is also a good example of thousands of lands being put up for housing although this area is most suited for agriculture due to the fertile red soil type.

The opening up of the Greater Eastern bypass and other bypasses around Nairobi will assist in this process.

Design and Construction Project Management.
Kenya will need to borrow heavily form the South African construction industry in order to reduce cost of construction.
In South Africa, most house construction elements are mass produced and available in leading supermarkets.


Windows are all designed in several sizes and styles and sold in supermarkets. Ring beams, wall bricks, roof trusses and many other elements are readily available in various sizes in most leading supermarkets.


Cement prices are also very low in South Africa.
Kenyans will need to borrow such techniques to reduce the cost of house construction.
The South African houses are also designed in a simple way whereby they look aesthetically appealing while costing less compared to the Kenyan houses. For example, in Kenya, for bungalows, we use 200mm to 300mm thick ring beams while in South Africa they use steel plate ring beams that are low cost, available in supermarkets and are fast to set up.

Roof trusses.

In South Africa, roof trusses are constructed by specialized companies who only deal with roof truss design and installation. This means that the trusses will be constructed in the factory hence no wastage as opposed to Kenya situation whereby the home owner buys the wood then hires the labour to fabricate the trusses on site hence a lot of wastage.

This and many other building design and construction management techniques used by South Africans can greatly reduce the cost of construction of Kenyan Houses.

Francis Gichuhi

Francis Gichuhi (692 Posts)

Architect Francis Gichuhi . B.Arch. University of Nairobi. Registered Architect, Kenya. Member, Architectural Association of Kenya. Contacts. email Telephone +254721410684



  1. kamau p
    March 10, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    hi, this is a very good article.
    keep up and God bless.

  2. frank
    April 24, 2011 at 9:14 am

    Hi Kamau, thanx and welcome….

  3. Neddy Mwongera
    August 25, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    Very educative I must say. Am doing my roof now and need tips to bring down the cost but get a good durable finish.

    • frank
      August 25, 2011 at 2:06 pm

      Thanks Mwongera..

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