Despite all the talk on affordable housing, at no one time has attention been actually paid to the question as it is being done today. In most cases, the unasked question has been: Affordable to who? For a time we had, and still have, houses selling for upwards of Sh7 million touted as affordable homes. Never mind the number of Kenyans who can afford that price is very small.
It is not until talks of homes selling for less than Sh3 million that people sat up and took notice. And like a lot of other things, private firms were in the fore front. While it is generally agreed that to achieve the elusive dream of making homes available to more Kenyans of modest means the government would have to take a more active role, this has rarely been the case.
Today, however, the tide is turning with the government showing more than a passing interest in making this a reality. Some analysts have argued that when the high-end segment of the market became saturated, developers would as a matter of business turn to the lower income segments. This, too, is coming to pass.
With this, new conversations are being woven. Major infrastructure projects are opening up areas few would have thought of venturing into and devolution is turning forgotten rural towns into booming hubs. After a decade of real estate boom in major towns, the next decade belongs to the smaller towns.