What is the meaning of affordable housing, really? Talk to twenty or so strangers on the street and ask what they think of the term affordable housing and you will most likely receive a host of different answers. As a concept, housing affordability is impacted by both socioeconomic and development factors and is defined as the rent to income ratio or the house price to income ration of a household.
Affordable housing is typically given to families that range from very low to middle-income earners or those individuals whose income is below the median. Therefore housing in Kenya and in many parts of the world is considered affordable when those who occupy it can do so without spending more than 30 percent of their total income.
Although different countries might have their own definition of affordable housing, the purpose of providing cheap housing is largely the same, that is, to address the housing needs of low- and middle-income households.
Cheap housing is a central issue of concern in many parts of the world but it is particularly of concern in developing nations because a large number of individuals in these markets are usually unable to purchase homes at the going market rates.
The main factors that impact the affordability of a home is an individual’s income. Therefore, it becomes the increased duty of the government to cater to the growing demand for affordable housing. Fortunately, the government of Kenya has taken measures to meet this increased demand by introducing programs such as Jubilee’s “Big Four” agenda as well as by collaborating with private developers such as Ishibox Limited to come up with creative solutions for affordable housing.
How Realistic is The Dream of Affordable Housing?
Building a house is expensive, regardless of where in the world you are located. As such, providing quality affordable housing at sustainable prices is easier said than done; but not impossible. Affordable housing can be attained by: –
Relying on Creative Solutions
in order to ensure that affordable housing is sustainable, the dream of cheap housing can only be accomplished by depending on creative thinking and innovative solutions. The land is usually the most expensive component of the construction process.
Unfortunately, Kenya’s building code is still heavily reliant on traditional brick and mortar methods of construction despite the availability of other alternatives such as prefab homes, container homes, and precast concrete panel houses. Besides being unsustainable, conventional brick and mortar technology is still too expensive and takes a lot of time and planning to pull off.
Changing People’s Perception of Low-cost Housing
Because people have become used to traditional construction methods that rely on cement, the use of any other material is usually considered inferior, which is wrong. For cheap housing to become a reality, the construction sector, in general, has to do everything in its power to change the perception of homeowners and buyers.
The use of new and modern technology for construction, such as shipping containers and prefab construction technology, can definitely help Kenyans to realize the dream of affordable housing. Not only is such technology effective but it helps to reduce the time and costs required for mass housing projects, which is what the world really needs to take care of the housing crisis it is currently facing.