Benchmarking Housing Construction Costs in Africa

How much does it cost to build a typical house in Africa? How do housing prices vary from one country to another, and what are the reasons for these differences?
To answer these questions, CAHF developed a detailed breakdown of housing construction costs in sixteen African countries. Using a standard house design and Bill of Quantities, we asked a professional Quantity Surveyor in each country to provide a quotation for building the house in the main city and in a secondary city.
In this dashboard, we explore the variation across countries and cities while also drilling down to cost components, exposing highs and lows and raising questions around the differences. The cost of the house varies by more than 100% from the country in which it is the most expensive to build, through to the country in which it is the most affordable.

We’ve broken down the cost of the house into 400 components. The following graphs show a first level of analysis, and future dashboards will dig even deeper into the data.
Note that Local Quantity Surveyors were asked to cost the unit as if it was one unit in a twenty-unit development. Because of this, specific costs (such as infrastructure) may vary from practitioners’ experience in other types of developments in these cities.

This is the second blog in the series. In the first, The Story of Housing and the Economy: Decoding the Housing Construction and Housing Rental Value Chains, the housing production value chain is explored. The third blog, The Story of Housing and the Economy: Exploring South Africa’s Housing Value Chains, is the methodology applied in an African country.

The data illustrated in this dashboard was collected by local quantity surveyors in each country, as part of a study undertaken by the Affordable Housing Institute and overseen by David Gardner, for the Centre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa. Data was collected, analysed, interrogated and revised over the course of 2015 and 2016. A full report will be available soon. The project was funded with the support of FSD Africa, and UKaid.
We welcome engagement on actual figures and invite practitioners to send us their BoQ for housing they’ve developed so we can compare.

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