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Student boom creates room for hostel investors

By Winnie Makena | March 19th 2020

Anthony Munene spent three months looking for accommodation in Karen prior to joining Kenya School of Law, only to end up in Rongai, Kajiado County, where accommodation was affordable.

“There is no reasonably priced student housing in Nairobi. When I was doing my degree at Kenyatta University’s Parklands Campus, I had to commute from home in Kahawa Sukari everyday with the morning traffic,” he told Home & Away.

“And now that I am in Karen it is worse because I cannot go back and forth from home. Rongai is the closest.”

There is a huge opportunity for private developers to build hostels near universities to house learners who cannot find shelter within their campuses.

According to the Ministry of Education, available student housing stood at 300,000 against a university enrollment of 520,900 as at 2018, excluding technical colleges.

Recent research by Cytonn Investment shows all universities are experiencing acute student housing shortage.

“On average, the majority of higher institutions in Kenya only cater to approximately 22.6 per cent of their student population, having looked at various tertiary institutions, their on-campus hostels capacity against their student enrollment,” said the report released last week.

“Assuming that 10 per cent live at home, this means private investors are left to cater for at least 67.4 per cent, which translates to over 350,000 bed spaces.”

Although private hostels have provided some relief to students and their schools, the hostels are in most cases quite expensive and insecure.

With public universities now directly absorbing all secondary school leavers who scored a mean grade of C+ and above for the last two years’ examinations, Kenya’s student housing market is still budding.

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