Only 4.5 percent of Kenyan women own homes alone

Only 4.5 percent of Kenyan women own homes alone

Only 4.5 percent of women in Kenya aged 15 to 49 years own a house alone, according to the recent Kenya Demographic and Health Survey 2022, while 27.7 percent own the houses together with their husbands. This contrasts with 34.7 percent of men who own the homes alone and 8.5 percent who do with their wives.

Despite Kenyan women's contributions to the field of technology, medicine and education, the trend reflects significant gender disparity in home ownership - despite Kenyan women's proven leadership in many fields - including technology, medicine, education, and finance.

The real estate sector is dominated by women, who have played a significant role in the nation's real estate industry, both as consumers and professionals.

Despite this, they remain a crucial target market for developers, especially in urban areas, as they are linked to a rise in career and entrepreneurship.

Why are there so many career women who don't buy homes?

The evidence of this is mostly informed by the fact that Kenyan women have become decision makers, therefore making individual decisions in home purchase matters.

Women are more in need of better jobs with exceptional growth prospects, not only in the corporate sector but also in all levels of government and development organizations.

The interest in real estate by a large proportion of women is therefore influenced by the need for portfolio diversification and cushion against valuation losses due to inflation.

Many urban Kenyan women have taken advantage of multiple benefits available only to them, such as tax breaks and lower loan interest rates offered by some banks.

Women have also become more interested in real estate, with some estimates suggesting that they make up nearly half of all new agents.

In some countries, more women prefer investing in real estate, while bonds or stocks are more common.

Besides, the International Finance Corporation observes that Kenya has a relatively unexplored housing finance market with significant unmet demand for housing finance among women.

As at 2020, IFC expects $14.8 billion to be the size of the market for women's housing loans, despite the obstacles women face.

The growth of female property buyers has been witnessed regionally in the past few years, showing that women are progressively investing in property.

Women's real estate sales rose from nine percent to 47 percent between the years 2020 and 2022, the World Bank said.

While there are significant obstacles to achieving financial stability for numerous women, such as the gender pay gap and limited access to resources due to cultural barriers, especially in Africa, the modern woman regards owning a home as a crucial milestone towards achieving financial independence.

Today's females are also focused on getting them empowered on financial inclusion, equality, and literacy.

The property industry is significantly contributing to the nation's economic growth thanks to favourable market conditions and a growing demand in the property sector.

The modern-day Kenyan woman is a symbol of the desire to become financially independent. In this time, it's a good time for women to free themselves from the constraints of being homeowners.

In half of married men, half drop wives into their own homes and land ownership.

It's also time for policymakers to emphasize frameworks that will attract a diverse workforce to establish sound careers for women in the real estate sector.

This would not only benefit women, but also benefit the entire Kenyan property market.

The author is the trust secretary, the Safaricom Staff Pension Scheme.