Searching for the cheapest newly built house by a private developer in Africa
Every year in the Housing Finance in Africa Yearbook, CAHF publishes data on the cheapest newly built house by a private developer in each country across the continent. Although government subsidies and state intervention play a critical role in addressing housing needs, the private sector is the main means of delivery of new housing in most African countries. This data provides an indication of how far down-market formal private developers can reach to provide affordable housing; thus, the data does not include developments where the government has provided land and/or any financial assistance.
Above: Graph of Cheapest Newly Built Houses across Africa for the years 2021 and 2022.
Source: Centre for Affordable Housing Finance (2022). Housing Finance in Africa Yearbook: 13th Edition – 2022 Data Survey (unpublished).
The data is collected as part of our Yearbook programme, which sees 40-50 consultants appointed each year to author the country profiles in the Yearbook and to collect data on 35 housing and housing finance indicators which comprise the Yearbook data survey. The consultants, most of whom are in-country, undertake in-person and online research, gathering the data through interviews, desktop research, local media etc.
As per the recommended methodology for this survey indicator, Yearbook authors contact three formal developers in the main urban centre who are known for delivering to the affordable market, and request the sales price of the cheapest newly built house available on the market in that particular year. The next step is that they look these houses up online and view the adverts and prices of the houses identified by the developers. Notably, these figures are for the cheapest house actually available on the market; not ones that are planned or targeted. The findings provide some fascinating insight into the affordable housing market across Africa.
Nigeria: Grand Luvu 3. Millard Fuller Foundation
Price: N3 900 000 (U$9 391) | Size: 42 sqm. Source: Family Homes Fund. (Accessed 21 November 2022)
In 2022, the price of the cheapest newly built house in Africa was a US$9 391 home at the Grand Luvu 3 development in Nigeria. With a floor area of 42 sqm, the houses at Grand Luvu 3 are semi-detached units developed by the Millard Fuller Foundation and with partial funding from The same house has been the cheapest newly built house in Africa for three years in a row which is indicative of a market floor that is difficult push further down. Priced quite closely with the Nigeria home, the cheapest newly built houses in Mozambique and in Angola are also among the most affordable on the continent—both on offer for under US$10 000.
Angola: Quissala 2. HabiTerra
Price: MZN 606 002 (US$9 494) | Size: 33 sqm. Source: Reall, 2022. Date accessed 21 November 2022
In Angola, the house is part of the Quissala 2 development by HabiTerra and was funded by Reall. It is a 33 sqm home selling for US$9 494. The cheapest house in Mozambique has also been funded by Reall, a UK-based organisation which supports the delivery of affordable housing in emerging markets. Reall funded the Inhamizua Phase 2 development which contains Mozambique’s cheapest newly built house. Developed by Casa Basica, a housing developer in Mozambique known for playing in the affordable space, the units are quite small in size at just 26 sqm, however for US$9 706, they are still very affordable. The sizes of the houses are not always a great concern, especially if the units are freehold – the free standing nature of the houses allows for households to renovate and extend the structure over time as the households’ incomes allow.
Mozambique: Inhamizua Phase 2, Casa Basica.
Price: MZN620 000 (US$9 706) | Size: 26 sqm. Source: Reall, 2022. Date accessed 21 November 2022
On the other hand, the cheapest newly built house by a private developer in Guinea-Bissau costs 7 times more (US$63 720) than the Nigerian house at Grand Luvu 3. This major difference in price underlines a large variation in this indicator across the continent. In most African countries, the cheapest newly built house by a private developer is not affordable to the majority of the population. For US$63 720 and at 40 sqm in size, the cheapest house in Guinea Bissau is essentially unaffordable: in 2021, only 5.77% of the country’s population would have been able to purchase this house with a bond at the prevailing mortgage terms (CAHF, 2021). Several other countries such as Chad, Algeria, Equatorial Guinea, Sao Tome and Principe, Tanzania, Gabon, South Africa, Eswatini, Tunisia, Seychelles and the Comoros have their cheapest houses priced over $US40 000 which, in many instances, is beyond the reach of most households.
Burkina Faso: Abdoul Services International, 2022.
Price: 8 800 000 CFA (US$13 967) | Size: 56 sqm. Source: Abdoul Services International, 2022. Date accessed 21 November 2022.
Outside of Nigeria, Mozambique and Angola, the most affordable homes by private developers on the continent are found in Lesotho, Malawi, Libya, Rwanda, Burkina Faso, Niger and Kenya—all priced between US$10 000 and US$15 000. The cheapest house in Burkina Faso (56 sqm) was developed by Abdoul Services International and is selling for US$13 967. Similarly, the cheapest new house in Kenya is listed on the market for US$12 726; it is a 30 sqm apartment which is part of the Park Road development by Boma Yangu in the Ngara area, Nairobi, Kenya.
Kenya: Park Road, Ngara. Boma Yangu
Price: KES 1 500 000 (US$12 727) | Size: 30 sqm. Source: Construction Today, 2022. Date accessed 21 November 2022
Given that purchasing a new house is unaffordable to most households, step-by-step self-build methods and informal construction have proven to be a vital component of stock delivery on the continent, and at costs considerably lower than the figures given for CAHF’s cheapest newly built house indicator. However, this method is often messy, slow, does not meet green certification standards and many times it does not even meet the standard building codes. This then highlights the importance of the role played by formal developers producing affordable housing, who can build to meet these standards and even tap into green finance that could make the stock they produce even more sustainable and more affordable in the long run (Rust, 2022).
The intention of this indicator is to determine how far down-market private developers are able to go in the absence of government support. However, in the process of collecting this data, at times we land on affordable houses where there is state involvement. For example, in Botswana, the cheapest newly built house by a private developer cost US$30 928 but when collecting the data, we also found homes priced as low as US$6 921 which are part of the country’s Social Housing Turnkey Programme.
Botswana: Social Housing Turnkey Programme, 2022.
Price: P90 000 (U$6 921) | Size: Varies. Source: BHC News, 2022. Date accessed 22 November 2022.
Apart from the social argument for affordable housing, there is also the investment and economic argument which is supported by the data collected through the YB survey and this indicator in particular. The evidence shows that even without government assistance, it is possible to deliver stock at prices under US$20 000 and, as we have seen in Nigeria, Mozambique and Angola, even under US$10 000. With the right mix of tools, resources, innovation, and financing, private developers are able to profitably deliver decent housing units at affordable prices. The challenge facing the sector is to more effectively support and create an enabling environment for these developments so that they may be produced on a larger scale.
As one studies the data on the Cheapest Newly Built House in Africa, it is also important to consider affordability and housing affordability, in many cases, is generally a function of three things: (1) a household’s income, (2) the price of the house that is available for sale, and (3) the terms of the housing loan (whether a mortgage or an unsecured housing loan) for which the household qualifies.
To download the full 2022 Housing Finance in Africa Yearbook click here
For more information about the Yearbook and the data collection process please email Alison Tshangana at firstname.lastname@example.org