MasterBuild Africa

Affordable Housing in Africa

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Accommodation is rarely affordable in Africa. The majority cannot afford down payment in some parts of the continent, while some also struggle to meet payments and repayments.

For instance, according to research, in Angola, a $3.5bn social housing project was done in Luanda, which offers about $84,000 for apartments. This is in a country where the income per head is barely $4,000 per annum.

In Cameroon, research also shows that the government’s housing scheme is unaffordable to about 80% of the population.

Likewise, the demand for building affordable homes far outweighs the supply in other parts of Africa. So, why are the houses unaffordable to the majority in Africa?

Here are some factors affecting affordable housing in Africa;

1. High cost of Land.

Using Ethiopia as a case study, it has been said, according to, that only 10% of Africa’s land is registered as marketable. Understandably, this escalates the cost of land.

A 99-year land lease in the commercial parts of Addis Ababa now costs about $15,000 per square meter. Consequently, private housing developers cater indirectly and exclusively to the rich, making it difficult to get even good houses for an average city dweller.

Also, using Nigeria as another case study, some parts in the urban part of Abuja sell land from about 3 million naira upwards, depending on the area. An average salary earner will definitely not be able to afford such land, or even rent, leave off buy a house on sale.

2. Residential segregation.

This arises as a result of people who may want to live in particular residential communities for such factors as race, tribe, social class and educational level etc. This factor is mostly influenced by the income level of the people involved. Examples of such locations in Lagos State, Nigeria are areas like Banana Island, Lekki, Ajah, Ikoyi and environs. Houses built on the Island are generally believed to be for the elite, that is, those who earn above-average income. Expectedly, accommodation in such places is quite unaffordable for average income earners, not to mention the poor.

3. High cost of building materials.

Sometimes, getting building materials to develop some particular parts is really a factor. Some building materials may get scarce or become more expensive as a result of having to transport them from remote or exotic locations.

For instance, a private developer may decide to ship all his building materials from abroad and after the completion of the house, to set the price at a hundred million naira.

Unfortunately, houses in war-torn areas can be way more expensive because of the unavailability of building materials.

Housing affordability in Africa is a major developmental setback which still weighs heavy on the continent. Accommodation is unaffordable in countries like Kenya because of factors like family size and inability to afford mortgages to rent or buy homes. Therefore, the government and private sector need to examine ways of alleviating this challenge to make decent living more affordable to average income earners, and even the poor.



Adedire F.M. & Adegbile M.B.O. (2017), Factors Influencing Housing Characteristics in Lagos Peripheral Settlements: Case of Ikorodu. Academic Publishing, Lagos Nigeria.

Raphael M. & K’Akumu O. (2018), Critical Factors Affecting Affordability of Mortgage Housing in Kenya Vol 33, (pp111-131).

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