Kenya universities scout for developers to build hostels

Kenya student accommodation
A hostel under construction. Student housing demand is expend to rise in coming years. PHOTO/FILE
Investors in student accommodation in Kenya are set to earn billions of shillings from a housing investment boom triggered by the rising demand for hostels in the country.

At least seven public universities are currently scouting for developers to build hostels for their growing number of students, creating a major investment opportunity for student accommodation providers.

A survey by the Kenya Business Review indicates that most of the developments are proposed on a build-operate-transfer model where an investor builds a hostel and collects rents for 15-20 years before releasing the property to the university.

Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology (JKUAT), Egerton, Maseno, Kenya School of Government and South Eastern Kenya University were recently sanctioned by the Treasury to fund construction of their student hostels through public-private partnerships (PPPs).

JKUAT is scouting for private investors to build a 20,000 capacity hostel for undergraduates at its Juja main campus. The project also includes construction of a hostel to accommodate 1,000 graduate students and 50 lecturer guest houses.

The university is also looking for a partner to establish a 4,600 capacity tuition block at its main campus and a lecture hall for 7,000 students at its Westlands campus.

Egerton University is looking to build hostels for 5,000 undergraduates and 1,000 graduate students, while Maseno is scouting for investors to help build a 10,000 capacity “Student Village” at its Kisumu campus. The development will include commercial services such as shops, restaurants, banks and an anchor retail outlet.

South Eastern Kenya University is planning to build a hostel for 7,000 undergraduates and 1,000 graduate students next to its main campus, while Embu University is seeking to build a 4,000-capacity hostel.

Narok-based Maasai Mara University last month invited private investors to build student hostels near the institution to cater for 7,000 students in dire need of accommodation.

Kenyatta and Moi universities were in May cleared by Treasury to finance construction of their hostels through PPPs to house 6,000 and 10,000 students respectively.