Housing Investment Chronicles

All across Africa, the vast majority of citizens cannot afford to purchase a home using formal housing finance instruments. The average annual income required to purchase the cheapest newly built house in Uganda is US$12 630[1]. Average annual urban incomes in the country are significantly below this at US$ 3 502, making pre-constructed formal housing accessible to a mere 3.5% of the urban population. In Mozambique this number drops to 1.5%. These figures necessitate further understanding of how the vast majority of middle and low income households ear, save and spend their money on housing. However, CAHF (and many other housing sector actors) rely on high level income data to determine affordability in a country. This data is derived from declared incomes in the formal sector.  While this is usual for relative benchmarking, it tells us very little on the true affordability at a household level due primarily to the fact that many African households are engaged in informal,non-declarable income activities.

This project aims at understanding the household level investment in housing, the assets drawn on by households to develop housing strategies and the policy, processes and institutions used to operationalize these strategies.

CAHF has conducted household surveys in Uganda and Mozambique with the aim of building this understanding of how households, earn, save and spend their money on housing. With a focus on low and middle income households, the Mozambique and Uganda Housing investment Chronicles have collected stories on the housing investment journeys of households in these two locations and have provided key insights into the land acquisition, time, financial instruments and resources used by these households to access housing. Inspired by the Financial Diaries initiative, this qualitative research project aims at informing a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities households face in accessing housing to inform evidence based policy making and responsive financial product development and design.


[1] Centre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa (2016) Housing Finance in Africa Yearbook.

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