Materials, Construction Techniques And Construction Economy In Developing Countries
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Most of the studies have noted that urban ho~sing development probl~~s jn Kenya are mainly due to high urban population growth rates resulting from immigration and natural population growth, lag in development of urban infrastructure that support housing development, low purchasing power of the majority of the urban households and the lack of appropriate building standards and by-laws especially for the low-cost housing. Heilbrun (1981) argues that the obvious and the most frequently neglected fact is that every family must have a place to live and that generally speaking the main function of the market is to match up the existing number of households with the existing stock. It has also been observed that the income of households is a major determinant of housing units that may be supplied on the market. Therefore the market function essentially reduces to matching up a distribution of households by income amount with a distribution of housing units by rent/price level. The government policy is to discourage housing subsidies as much as possible and encourage construction of affordable housing for various income groups. Affordable housing implies that households are able to pay market prices for the given housing. The main purpose of the paper is to determine if the policy of affordable nonsubsidized low-cost housing is realizable. Under various assumptions, we estimate and analyze the affordability of some of the housing programs that are being financed by the public sector and the international agencies over the plan period 1979-83 by the lower and middle income households at market prices. In this paper we assume that households spend between 15% and 25% of their income on housing, PRENT. Each income group is subdivided into three subgroups. This paper is divided into five sections. It demonstrates that the lower and middle income families would afford some of these housing projects under the assumption that PRENT = 25%. However, the very low income group would afford none of these projects. It is noted that cost, offer and bid price functions if properly specified and estimated as well as knowledge of the wage/income structure in the urban areas would provide a better guide to formulation of building standards and by-laws. Gentrification process possibilities are not ruled out as about 75% of these projects are targeted at the mid-low and upper-low income groups and only 12% of them are for the middle income households.
University Of Nairobi
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