Systemic Barriers to Access and Usage of Housing Finance in Kenya Demystified

The findings of the research will inform the short, medium and long-term plans by the various stakeholders in the housing sector value chain, with expected positive transformation in uptake of affordable housing.


Nairobi, August 31, 2023 –Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI) in partnership with Kenya Mortgage Refinance Company (KMRC) and the Association of Microfinance Institutions of Kenya (AMFI- K) has today launched a research report on the systemic barriers to access and usage of housing finance in Kenya during a breakfast function at the Nairobi Serena Hotel.

The launch follows the successful completion of a research project that was collaboratively driven by the three institutions with the objective of identifying the general factors inhibiting access and optimal utilization of housing finance in Kenya. The study focused on the low-income population and undertook a holistic assessment of the housing finance landscape with a view to scoping out the demand and supply side needs, challenges, opportunities, and an assessment of the solutions available to promote affordable housing finance in Kenya. Additionally, the research examined existing laws, regulations and policies that support or hinder affordable housing finance, as well as potential investment opportunities that are geared towards boosting the supply sides’ development efforts.

“Habitat for Humanity International exists to empower communities to overcome the chronic lack of decent housing through solutions that make adequate housing accessible and affordable for all. Together with KMRC and AMFI-K, we share a commitment to expanding access to home ownership for all families. This research findings will be instrumental in unlocking new housing finance opportunities for low-income families in Kenya,”- Habitat for Humanity International.

Titled Research on systemic barriers towards access and usage of housing finance in Kenya, the findings will inform critical review and/or development of strategic short, medium and long-term plans by the various housing stakeholders. The findings will guide stakeholders’ decisions in proposing innovative solutions to promote access and utilization of housing finance, especially for the low-income households and informal segments of the population. Ultimately, these findings are expected to positively impact Kenya’s housing uptake, promote behavior change with respect to housing finance and thus, significantly increase home ownership.

“We are thrilled to share with you the results of what has been a detailed and in-depth collaborative exploration that will provide answers and viable innovative solutions to lo housing stakeholders’ questions and housing finance access challenges respectively. This marks one of KMRC’s important milestones in regard to continuous research and advocacy to unlock barriers in the affordable housing sector. We will continue to pursue such collaborative opportunities that will not only enhance Kenya’s home ownership but will also enrich the much needed affordable housing landscape data,” said KMRC’s Chief Executive Officer & MD, Mr. Johnstone Oltetia.

Global housing supply falls short of demand with more than a billion people living in informal settlements. The Centre for Affordable Housing Finance Africa (CAHF) estimates suggest that less than 15% of Africa’s urban population can afford to purchase developer-built housing, and that most of the incremental building is financed through proceeds from business and farming, savings and credit from a variety of financial service providers. Kenya is estimated to host more than half of its population in the urban areas by 2050, indicating the dire need for sustainable housing solutions. Even though Kenya has an established financial service sector, the housing financing models available are not optimally utilized, especially by the low-and middle-income households.

“Microfinance Institutions serve the low- and middle-income households who require greater access to long-term financing options and affordable interest rates for housing loans given that they have limited funding alternatives for affordable housing. This research has culminated a comprehensive and insightful report that plays a pivotal role to our members as an Association. The findings will assist the microfinance institutions to develop and re-align their housing loan products that will champion for affordable housing and increase the number of house owners in the country,” - Association of Microfinance Institutions Kenya.

The research was commissioned by Habitat for Humanity’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter (HFHI-TCIS), which provided general technical assistance and mostly focused on the low and middle income households across the country.


About Habitat for Humanity International

Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live in, Habitat for Humanity began its operations in 1976 as a grassroots effort and has since grown to become a leading global nonprofit housing organisation working in more than 70 countries, nine of them in Africa. Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. To learn more, donate or volunteer, visit 

About Habitat’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter

The Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter, a unit of Habitat for Humanity International, works with housing market systems by supporting local firms and expanding innovative and client-responsive services, products and financing so that households can improve their shelter more effectively and efficiently. The ultimate goal of the Terwilliger Center’s market systems program is to make housing markets work more responsive for people in need of decent, affordable shelter, thereby improving the quality of life for low-income households. To learn more, visit

About Kenya Mortgage Refinancing Company (KMRC)

Established in April 2018 as a Public-Private Partnership (PPP), under the supervision of the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), Kenya Mortgage Refinance Company’s role is to provide long-term funds to primary mortgage lenders (Banks, Micro Finance Banks and Saccos) in order to increase the availability of affordable home loans to Kenyans by providing low interest, fixed rate, long term finance to mortgage financiers so that they can transfer the same benefits to individual borrowers, making home loans more accessible and affordable for Kenyans. A wholesale institution, KMRC also aims at contributing to the growth of Kenyan capital markets through the issuance of corporate bonds as a source of sustainable long-term funds, assisting in the standardization of mortgage practices in Kenya through enhanced capacity building to member institutions on the origination of mortgages and contributing to the growth of the mortgage market in Kenya through support to Primary Mortgage Lenders. Additional information may be found at

About Association of Microfinance Institutions (AMFI-Kenya)

AMFI-Kenya plays a significant role in facilitating small loans, including housing loans, to low-and middle-income individuals. Microfinance institutions, including those affiliated with AMFI-Kenya, specialize in tailoring these loans to meet borrowers’ specific needs and financial capabilities. By leveraging their expertise and network, AMFI-Kenya supports the accessibility of affordable housing finance, enabling individuals to fulfill their housing aspirations within their financial means. Learn more about AMFI-Kenya on Amfi Kenya