Accordingly, a recent survey by a local daily, 91% of Nairobians are tenants explaining why the need for affordable and sustainable housing units is always in full swing. 2019 has already seen some areas emerging very strong with real estate developers putting up structures with sophisticated finishes for example the 88 Nairobi condominium Residential project at the heart of Nairobi city, upper hill.
Consequently, the Kenyan government with the “big 4 agenda” prioritized #affordablehousing. Folks, is this the relief the average Nairobi tenant has been yearning? Well we will have to wait and see. Now we put our selves in the shoes of an average Nairobi tenant or a house hunter and ask the question “which areas offer value for money?
We have divided this guide into categories, and we`ve selected the most preferred locations in terms of affordability and accessibility. We have also taken consideration of availability of social amenities, security and the income levels of an average house hunter.
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In this category we profile two types of house hunters based on their income levels and why they would prefer to live in the areas we have selected below. The first profile is the “startup earner” this type of house hunter is a person who has recently secured a job either for the first time or is still not stable financially.” The “startup earner” are people who are within the income bracket of KES. 20,000-30,000 a month or run their own business which are still at start up level and face uncertain income projections.
The digital house hunter in this bracket normally settles for a bedsitter as it is affordable and doesn’t strain the monthly budget, as we will shall see in the areas profiled where most unfurnished bedsitters have an average rent budget of KES. 7,000.
The second profile of the house hunters in Nairobi based on their income levels is known as the “middle earner”. This is the type house hunter or tenant who has been working for several years and has been earning a stable income or if self employed the business has been picking up well. Besides, the house hunter in this profile could be starting a family or with a young family. “The middle earner” who happens to be employed are within the income bracket of KES. 30,000 -50,000 or when self-employed the business would be having monthly cash flow projections of KES. 50,000-100,000.
The house hunter in this profile normally have two house type inclinations: a one-bedroom house or a two bedroom. Aside, the residential areas we have profiled, most one-bedroom houses would averagely deduct of KES. 15,000 from your payslip whereas two-bedroom houses cost an average of KES. 20,000 a month in rent.
Under this category we highlight several factors that come into play: The geographical distance between the work place and home determinantly influence why the house hunter would prefer some areas over others. Having most job opportunities being found in areas like: Westlands (PWC westlands, Deloitte westlands, Safaricom HQ1, Barclays Bank HQ, Villarossa Kempinski), Upper hill and Nairobi CBD, the average house hunter would prefer a location that is more convenient and closer to the work place.
Additionally, the Kencom, bus fare: Working with the assumption the Nairobi tenant uses only one route, they can spend an average of KES.200 daily. Working from Monday to Friday for 23 days a month one would spend about KES. 4,600 or roughly KES. 5,000. This figure can go exponential depending on the flexibility of the routes and access to the means of transport.
Traffic jam: it is important to note that traffic jams in Nairobi is a shared problem but some areas prove to be more of a nightmare than others. With recent real data analytics publicly available on #Ubermovement that indicates that an average Nairobian spends about 3 hrs. in traffic jams, this means that most Nairobi tenants wake up very early in the morning and get back home late.
Water shortages; its no secret that most parts in Nairobi suffer from acute water supply and low pump pressure that adversely affect the household chores.
Good social amenities: good schools, hospitals or medical centers, police station, lit streets, tarmacked estate roads and proper drainage system.
Definitely, most Nairobi tenants are finding it hard to find some good affordable housing that rhyme their monthly revenues or salaries.
The economist get it right for once: “the Less the market supply of affordable housing units, the higher the rental rates”.
To help ease the process of accommodation and rental housing budgeting for the today city dweller, Hao Finder has compiled a list of the areas in Nairobi that would serve as a template overview of the affordable rental hunting expedition within the counties of Nairobi, Kajiado, Kiambu and partly Machakos:
- RUAKA TOWN:
GOOD: excellent transport network, less congested housing units, good social amenities, home internet,
BAD: ever increasing rental prices, poor drainage
This is the fastest growing residential area in Nairobi with new structures coming up every month, additionally Ruaka town is located in an ideal location that is North west of Nairobi at the Western end of the Northern by pass towards Kiambu county.it has a good transport network system connecting it to the city center via Limuru road,Thika road superhighway via Muthaiga and the newly constructed Waiyaki by-pass which easily connects Ruaka town to Westlands,this excellent road network would be an ideal for people working either in Westlands or Nairobi city center.
The fare is reasonably priced for instance from Ruaka to Nairobi city center is only KES.70(to Koja terminus) during the rush hours and KES.40 during the off peak hours, if you are operating from Ruaka to Westlands the fare is priced at KES.50 rush hour and KES.30 during the off peak. The traffic congestion on your way to Ruaka town is not heavy with the exception of small sections of Limuru rd especially around the village market mall. If you operate from the Waiyaki by-pass towards Ruaka town the traffic flows smoothly. This fare is a favorite for the fresh graduates who that recently gotten jobs.
Another factor why Ruaka town is becoming a favorite among the house hunters in Nairobi is the availability of affordable houses in a serene environment, a bedsitter goes for an average KES.7000-10,000 while a one bedroom goes for between KES. 15,000-20,000 a month. This rent figures are also influenced with factors like: finishing of the house, closeness to the main road or even tarmacked estate roads.
Most rental houses are managed by house agencies which is good especially if you are new to this area don’t know where to begin they can help you to identify several houses, just to save you from the house hunting hustle as well looking up for houses on websites like www.haofinder.com.
Its also important to note that Two rivers mall is located in Ruaka town and it is the largest mall in East Africa, it serves as an ideal place for shopping and recreation activities especially during the weekends. Well its presence is a welcomed idea it has also seen rental prices shoot up as more people are locating there.
GOOD: easy accessibility, presence of several shopping malls, security, cheap fare tariffs
BAD: too many foreigners, poor drainage, lack of a shopping center, loud super bike riders, house congestion, water shortages
Roysambu is a residential area found in Nairobi along the Thika superhighway its proximity to this road is what makes it a favorite among the many house hunters who have secured a job opportunity in the city center or within the outskirts of Nairobi CBD.it contains neighborhoods like Zimmerman, Kahawa west and part of Githurai.
The fare tariff is also another added advantage as its reasonably priced at KES.60 during rush hour and KES.30 during the off peak hour, this is contributed by the fact there many PSVs that operate along Thika super highway and hence there is a variety of options to choose from. Traffic congestion along Thika road rd sometimes gets messy but in most situations moves at reasonable pace.
Housing is affordable in most parts of Roysambu with a one-bedroom house going for between KES. 12,000-17,000, two-bedroom house going for KES. 17,000-23,000 and a bed sitter going for KES. 7,000-9,000. The presence of Thika road mall (T.R.M) and the ever increasing influx of foreign nationals like Nigerians, Rwandese and Congolese people have contributed to rental prices to shooting up especially in areas like Lumumba drive as more people have relocated to this place.
GOOD: affordable housing, constant water supply, presence of a shopping center, affordable fare
BAD: poor drainage, heavy traffic,
Uthiru is a residential area located between Kikuyu town (Kiambu county) and Kangemi area(Nairobi county),its home to a number of public institutions including University of Nairobi upper Kabete campus,Kabete Technical training institute,AHITI Kabete and ILRI(International libestock research institute).
Its is accessible via the Waiyaki-Westlands road and its 18.4 km from the city center of Nairobi and 15.8 km from Westlands, which would be ideal for people working in Westlands area. The fare to Uthiru is quite affordable for the people working to and from the city center during the rush hour it ranges between KES.50-70, while doing the off peak hour it ranges between KES.30-40, it is even more advantageous if you work in Westlands because you save huge on fare during the rush hour the fare from Uthiru to Westlands ranges from KES.30-40 during the off peak hour it ranges from KES.20-30.
Uthiru is regarded as one of the cheapest residential areas to live in Nairobi with a one bed room house going for between KES. 8,000-13,000 and a bed sitter going for between -KES. 5,000-8,000.
GOOD: affordable houses, easy accessibility
BAD: over crowded, poor drainage, water shortage, insecurity, bad/poor roads, traffic jams
Embakasi is a residential area that is located 15.3 km east of Nairobi city center and it is accessible by two main roads that is Mombasa road or Jogoo road.it is home to the main airport of Nairobi, Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (J.K.I.A).
Embakasi is considered part of Nairobi`s Eastlands area,lying to the south-east of Nairobi province and bordering locations in Eastlands proper such as Pipeline Estate,Tena Estate and Makadara Estate.it borders South C and contains South B and slightly one third of Nairobi’s industrial area and Export processing zones.
As a result of this Embakasi is a mixture of both residential and factories hub, and hence it is home to huge densely populated area.it also palys host to informal settlements like Mukuru Kwa Njenga and mostly houses lower middle income tenants.
Affordable housing is a major factor why most people settle in Embakasi for instance a one-bedroom house goes for KES. 10,000-15,000, a while a bed sitter could go for KES. 6,000-8,000 and a two-bedroom could go for KES. 15,000-20,000.
The fare to and from the CBD is quite affordable it ranges between KES.50-70 during the rush hour and between KES.30-40 during the off peak hour, with Psvs either using either Mombasa or Jogoo rd presents a variety of options, however this route suffers plenty of traffic jams especially when one is using Jogoo rd.
Good: spacious housing units, serene environment, several shopping centers
Bad: traffic jams, poor drainage, occasional water shortage, occasional hiked fare
Rongai is residential area found 17 km south of Nairobi city center and the town is considered to be”outside Kenya” or “diaspora” owing to the experience one goes through in transit to the town, this is contributed by the fact that the Nairobi national park is visible on your way to Rongai and gives someone the experience of travelling up country.
Notably, Rongai is famous for its customized public service vehicles operating on 125/126 route this is a favorite among the fresh graduates or the young working class who love travelling in style.Rongai also plays host to several universities like:Multi Media University(M.M.U),Africa Nazarene University(Naz),Adventist University of Africa(Maxwell university) and Catholic University of Eastern Africa(CUEA).
Rongai is a multi-class area which is however dominated by the middle class and it is considered a good area to settle owing to the fact it is not populated as compared to other areas in Nairobi. Houses are also affordable with a bed sitter going for between KES. 7,000-9,000, a one-bedroom house could go for KES. 12,000-15,000 and a two bed room house could go for KES. 15,000-20,000.
However, the huge challenge to many Rongai tenants is the perennial traffic jam along the Magadi rd which seems to get heavier every day and the unpredictable fare changes which in some cases as the most hiked fares ever witnessed in Nairobi with Psvs charging as high KES.200 especially the rainy season.
Kenya national Highways Authority(KENHA) is expected to begin the dualling of the Magadi road from the Bomas junction in November this year, this will improve the traffic congestion in this area and will come as relief for the Rongai tenant spending less time and fare.
Evidently, the profiled tend to give “value for money” with similar features and challenges, however we can’t single out a specific area and term it “the best” than rest, because the ultimate decision lies with the house hunter and the decision made is also influenced by factors that are not limited to: income, location of work place, the tenant preference.
Its our hope you find this guide helpful. At www.haofinder.com we put our best foot forward in conducting extensive ground and or organic research on how you can maximize your options when renting, leasing “To Let Property” across the country.
John Mugwe Jr
The author is a content creator and brand strategist for Hao Finder.