It is everyone’s dream to have a place to call home. While some inherit the houses they live in and others get them as gifts, a majority of Kenyans have to work hard to provide for themselves and their families a roof over their heads.
In his final term, President Kenyatta named providing affordable housing as part of his Big Four agenda, pledging to construct 500,000 new houses for Kenyan families and reduce the cost of home ownership by 50 percent. The first project under the Affordable Housing Program, dubbed Boma Yangu, is located in the Ngara area of the City of Nairobi, and will consist of 1,370 units.
In the meantime, Kenyans are increasingly resorting to mortgages to acquire homes. As the nation joins the world in marking World Habitat Day today, below are some facts about the state of the mortgage market in the country.
What is the size of the mortgage market in Kenya?
There were 26,187 mortgages in the market in 2017, a nine percent rise from 24,059 in 2016. The number of mortgage loans has been on the rise over the years.
The value of outstanding mortgage loan assets was Sh223.2 billion in 2017, a two percent increase from Sh219.9 billion in 2016. In Kenya, almost all banks offer mortgage loans for their staff and customers. There were 31 financial institutions offering mortgages to customers in 2017.
How many Kenyans can afford a mortgage?
A 2011 World Bank report estimated that only 11 percent of the urban population can afford a mortgage. Households need to have a comfortable income to cover both the cost of servicing the mortgage as well as meeting the usual household needs.
The average mortgage size has doubled since 2011, standing at about Sh11 million in 2017. The increase is due to a rise in property prices.
To repay a mortgage of Sh11 million over 25 years at an interest rate of 14 percent, one would have to pay Sh132,414 a month. Only three percent of employed Kenyans or 76,804 employees earned more than Sh100,000 a month.
What is the current housing gap?
The housing gap (shortage of houses with access to basic service) in Kenya stands at two million units.
About two-thirds of urban households in Kenya are in informal settlements, higher than Nigeria’s share of 50 percent and South Africa’s 23 percent, both of which are more populous than Kenya.
According to Knight Frank’s wealth report for 2018, Karen estate in Nairobi was highlighted as one of the peak performers in terms of location and infrastructure. A house in the area costs between Sh80 million and Sh110 million, while an acre of land goes for Sh50 million.
How many people are keeping up with their loan repayments?
About one in 11 (nine percent) mortgage accounts failed to pay its dues in 2017, amounting to Sh27.3 billion. This was the highest share since 2011, and accounted for 2,405 cases.