Every town in Kenya has some areas where the working and middle class can live. Rent is not the only thing that makes an area affordable or cheap. That also depends on issues like accessibility from the central business district and how mush fare costs to and from there. Another important factor is food. Imagine very low rent but spending a fortune on food. For example, a bed sitter in South B is about 10,000 shillings. However, a bunch of three apples is 100 shillings which is quite high compared to other areas. Other factors that might not make the low rent sensible are water and safety. Nairobi has a population of more than 4 million. It also houses more than a third of Kenya’s middle class. This means that most of these areas are quite crowded. Below are some of the five cheapest places to live in Nairobi, in no particular order.
Located in Embakasi East along the Eastern bypass, this area has grown exponentially over the years. Rent is as low as 5,000 shillings for a bed sitter and 9,000 shillings for a one bedroom house. One thing to note about the houses in Utawala is the size of eth rooms. Most of the buildings boast large spacious rooms which may be well worth the commute. Most of the buildings also have running water which is usually included n the rent.
Speaking of eth commute, fare to and from town is about 100 shillings but traffic may prove problematic. Therefore, this area is best suited to people who work on Mombasa road, airport or anywhere in the outskirts of Nairobi. Being so far out of town though means that Utawala is not as crowded as other middle and lower class areas.
The security in Utawala really depends on where one chooses to le. There always quite a few incidents of thugs being caught there. For the most part though, it is a safe lace to live. Proximity to the Administration Police Training College might instill a sense of security. Other than that, police response to situations is quite prompt.
The downside to Utawala is that it is not close to any major food market which means that food there is not as cheap or affordable as would be in other places. That is not to say that things are as expensive as in South B though. Shopping at Muthurwa Market might be warranted.
This is the general area between what used to be Taj Mall all the way up to Donholm. In other words, Embakasi South. The rent does not apply to every part of Embakasi. It only applies to some patches. Areas like Fedha estate features higher rates. In the lower rent areas, a bed sitter goes for about 6,000 shillings while a one bed room goes for around 10,000 shillings.
Embakasi is quite crowded. The benefit of this is that it seems like a big chunk of it is on a 24 hour economy. Food is also quite affordable with many establishments that cater to single people with an aversion to cooing. Fare to town can go as low as 30 shillings depending on the time of day. Accessibility to the central business district is also quite simple. The issue of water is really specific to the areas. Some experience shortages while others have running water. As one is house hunting they should find out the measures that the landlords have in place to ensure that water shortage does not become a headache.
Further along is Umoja. This is a very well placed area with good access to Kangundo road, town through Jogoo road and also Mombasa road through Outering. The rent there can be as low as 5,000 for a bed sitter and 9,000 for a one bed room. Most two bed room houses go for less than 20,000 shillings. Umoja is also home to some great schools. The water situation is similar to Embakasi. Food and amenities are quite affordable. It is quite safe with 24 hour public transport service to and from town. This makes a good combination for middle and working class families. There are people of diverse social strata. That means that the same applies to housing. A person with a growing family can move to a bigger house without having to change schools for the children.
This is an area located along the Thika Superhighway. Rent is relatively cheap from Roysambu all the way up to Ruiru. Rent varies according to accessibility to the highway. The 44 side also seems to cheaper than the 45 side. Generally, rent for a bed sitter could go for as low as 5,000 while rent for a one bedroom could be as low as 8,000. It is really dependent on where the house is located.
One of the biggest benefits of this area is that there is an abundance of food. That means that all foods are quite cheap compared to other parts of Nairobi. There is also good accessibility to Town with fare rarely ever going up to 100 shillings at peak times. One can access Mombasa road through Outering or Eastern bypass and Westlands through Ngara quite easily. The entire area is pretty safe up to 10 pm after which it becomes relative to the specific location. Public transport services that route up to pretty late at night. One major downside is water.
The areas along Waiyaki Way are pretty affordable with the exception of Kinoo which has seen a steady increase in rent over the years. Areas after Kinoo however, like Kikuyu are pretty affordable. Rent can be as low as 6,000 for a bedsitter and 11,000 for a one bed room house. Water is not as big a problem as it is in Roysambu and it is easy to access the city center. Food is also quite affordable. Unlike most of the other areas on this list, Kinoo does not have a budding 24 hour economy.
One thing to remember while trying to keep living costs low is that there is more to consider than just rent. Every area has some hot spots with regards to insecurity and water shortages. The key is to take time while house hunting or using a really good agent.
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