Shelter Afrique to build hostels as student housing crisis bites

A hostel under construction.
A hostel under construction at Maasai Mara University in Narok. PHOTO/FILE
Shelter Afrique is planning to build rental houses near institutions of higher learning as it seeks to tap into rising demand for student accommodation in Kenya.

The pan-African housing financier is scouting for joint ventures with partners owning suitable land near colleges and universities with a view to put up housing units for students. In such dealings, landowners usually contribute to a project in return for a proportionate ownership interest in the project.

But unlike many developers who are currently building student lodges around colleges and universities, Shelter Afrique is keen on putting up rental houses that would be affordable to students.

Shelter Afrique managing director James Mugerwa recently said it was necessary for property developers to focus on formal rental housing as a means to solve student housing crisis in the country.

“There is need to make a serious mental shift towards formal rental housing as a viable option to solve the housing crisis,” he said.

The fast expansion of local public and private universities has created a surge in demand for student housing – making it very attractive for developers to build student accommodation facilities near the institutions.

The rising demand has also seen land values going up in areas adjacent to the universities, which means developers have to hike rents so as to recoup investments in reasonable time.