Why container homes are the perfect shelter for Kenya's 2million residents without a roof over their heads

6 out of 10 urban residents stay in slums, Nairobi hosts the largest slum in East and Central Africa, the infamous Kibera slum.


This is according to the latest economic update from the World Bank Group dubbed the Kenya Economic Update: Housing—Unavailable and Unaffordable report. 

"Many Kenyans are unnecessarily living in slum dwellings, because of limited supply and lack of affordability," the World Bank said in a report.

Kenya needs to build 244,000 homes every year in order to meet the ever growing demand, however less than a quarter of these numbers are ever built, World Bank said.

Already 6 out of 10 urban residents stay in slums and while the situation is not unique to Kenya alone, Nairobi hosts the largest slum in East and Central Africa, the infamous Kibera slum.

Past government measures to build affordable homes have failed because of a number of reasons among them shortage of funds, lack of land and the sheer task it comes with it.

So why then should Kenyans not venture into container houses, a proven concept in the Asian and European markets in addressing housing shortages and while at it save money, tears and sweat?

Here are five reasons why container homes are actually the perfect shelter and solution to Kenya’s chronic problem of lack of enough houses to shelter its citizens.

One of the main challenges keeping most Kenyans from buying their own homes is lack of finance.

Nairobi is one of the most expensive cities for housing in Africa; prices of houses almost doubles every year. The cheapest home formally built by a developer in 2012 cost more than $15,000 according to the World Bank report, more than 10 times the average annual income of $1,340.

Dennis Mauru, the founder of mauru containers which deals with transporting, selling and fabricating containers says containers homes are very affordable and in fact with proper planning every Kenyan can own a home.

“It is good that Kenyans have started embracing container homes because they are very affordable compared to traditional houses”

1 bedroom house for instance goes for $8,500 (Sh850, 000), 2 bedroom house retails at $15,500 (Sh1.55million) and a 3 bedroom house goes for just $18,00 (1.8 million) all inclusive of the container price.

Compare this then to the normal brick and mortar house, The average price for a 1-3 bedroom residential property is currently KES14.1 million (US$139,233) as of june 2016 according to HassConsult Property Sales Index.

Contrarily to popular belief container homes are actually durable and can last for a life time (inadumu kudumu).

Containers are made from a ‘weathering steel’ known as 'Cor-ten' steel which is corrosion resistant.

Apart from that, when constructing the house, water proof paint is again added onto the material enough to shelter you and your kids for a lifetime.

So things like rust will be a thing of the past since Container homes actually lasts longer than the normal brick and motar house.

Most Kenyans who aspire to buy homes will not have the money and time to consult an architecture to design for them their dream homes.

Therefore most will simply resort to borrowing a loan and buy a ready house and then move in, for those who try building their own houses from foundation, they normally resort to trying to copy the design of most grand house in their village only to spectacularly fail.

Container homes are very stylish because they can take any shape and Mauru containers are here to help anyway.

“If you have a unique idea for a container, we {Mauru} will work with your vision and budget to help create your ideal final product.”

Container homes are very comfortable because they come equipped with the latest home utilities like Kitchen sinks, toilet seats, spacious rooms with plenty of light; I mean it is the real deal.

About weather and varying climatically conditions, potential home owners don’t need to worry at all; container houses are equipped with heat reflectors, proper ventilation system just like an ordinary house would.

The biggest disadvantage that comes with a traditional house is its rigidity, once complete unless incorporated in the original plan it is seldom hard to expand or change.

The great thing about containers on the other hand is its flexibility; you can add containers easily as your family expands without a sweat.

The shipping containers are easily stacked to create multiple floors for more privacy and peace of mind.

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