Household survey shows the state of housing in Kenya

The first national housing budget survey for Kenya since the devolved system of government released in 2018 highlights some interesting statistics about households and housing in Kenya. Among other things, the survey completed by Kenya National Bureau of statistics, deals with housing conditions and amenities in the country, covering the 2015/2016 period.

The report shows that bungalows are the most prevalent type of dwelling units in the country accounting for 55.4 per cent of all households while maisonettes were the least common types, adding up to just 0.9 per cent. In the analysis, one out of every five households in urban areas were residing in flats compared to the negligible proportion recorded among households in rural areas. The most common type of dwellings in rural areas were bungalows (75.5 %).

Analysis across counties shows that the proportion of households living in flats was highest in Nairobi City at 46.3 per cent followed by Kajiado at 20.1 per cent, the Swahili type of dwelling was preferred by most households in Mombasa County.

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On home ownership, the survey found that, almost six in every ten households in the country owned the dwelling units they lived in while slightly more than a third resided in rented or leased units. Most people who live in rural areas own their own houses (over 85 per cent) while in urban areas it is just 26.1 per cent.

The results also show that about 70 per cent of households in urban areas lived in rented dwellings compared to about 10 per cent of households in rural areas. As expected, a high proportion of households in Nairobi City (86.4%) and Mombasa (82.2%) lived in rented dwellings.

According to the report, other counties that had high proportions of households renting or leasing dwellings were Kajiado (59.5%), Kiambu (51.6%), Nakuru (46.3%), Uasin Gishu (44.0%) and Kisumu (42.2%).

Most owner-occupied houses in the country (88.6%) were constructed by the owners themselves while only results show that 5.0 per cent of owner-occupied dwellings were purchased, which explains the relatively low mortgage rates in the country. In addition, 2.8 per cent were inherited and 2.3 per cent were received as gifts.

Also, cash purchase was the preferred mode of acquiring dwelling units for 2.6 per cent and 5.1 per cent of households in rural and urban areas, respectively. On the other hand, 0.7 per cent of owner occupier households in rural areas and 2.0 per cent in urban areas purchased their dwelling through loans.

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The survey found that up to 73 per cent of the owners of rented units in the country are individuals collecting rents directly while 19.6 per cent of rent is collected through agents. The findings also show that the Public Sector contributed a small proportion (2.6%) of dwellings to the households for renting purposes.

However, the level of investment among households is still relatively low at national level, as only 7.2 per cent of households surveyed reported having received income from rent, pension, financial investment and other related incomes within the 12 months preceding the survey.

The KNBS survey, funded by the government and the World Bank, was the second integrated housing budget survey in the Kenya.