Meeting housing demand in medium sized towns in Kenya: A Case study of Kericho town
The focus of the study is on housing demand in Kericho. Housing demand is a function of income and the proportion of it that people are able and willing to spend on housing and the cost at which housing units are provided. It is considered normal in Kenya for people to spend 20% of their incomes on housing. This study has, therefore, endeavoured first to establish the average income levels in Kericho Town and the proportion of such incomes spent on housing. Secondly, the study has focused on the issue of housing affordability. Another aspect covered in this study is the housing stock situation in Kericho town and the rate at which new units are being produced. And lastly, the study has attempted to analyse the housing need situation in Kericho Town. Analysis in this study reveals that people in Kericho spend an average of 26% of their incomes on housing. And when related to the rent levels and housing mortgage requirements, it becomes clear that majority of the people, especially the income, cannot afford suitable housing and this explains why most of them live in the Kwa Michael and Nyagacho areas. By considering current eosts in a site and service scheme and of putting up a two-roomed houses acc~ptable to the Council, as regards standards of construction and infrastructure, it has been established in this study that the low and middlie income earners in Kericho cannot afford loan repayments, if given loans, mainly as a result of their low incomes relative to the national levels and high standards emphasised by local authorities. The study has also revealed the inadequacy of housing units in Kericho town. By comparing the level of housing stock, the rates at which new units are being produced and'the rate of formation of new households, it has been established that there is a large housing need in Kericho town and that most of these needs are to meet the housing requirements of the low income. After consideration of what people can afford in Kericho town, it has been established that the current programmes oriented towards home ownership in urban are~s, for example, the site and service;, programmes, are not actually benefiting the target beneficiaries - the low-income earners. This study has thus emphasized the shift of emphasis from owner occupier developments, to putting up rental houses. if the low income are to afford living in houses that meet the standards required by local authorities. So in a nut-shell, this study reveals the inadequacy of affordable housing and which measure to the standards required by local authorities, in terms of rents and housing mortgage terms, especially to the low and a section of the middle income and groups.