Most Nairobi residents fall into the middle-income or lower brackets, with a monthly income of Kshs 60,000 or less. According to the 30% rent guideline, the typical citizen can comfortably afford a monthly rent of Kshs 18,000 for a unit in the Nairobi Metropolitan Area (NMA).
A significant 80% of Nairobi’s residents are renters. In this article, our focus is on identifying budget-friendly rental options in the Nairobi Metropolitan Area (NMA) for middle-income earners, specifically below Kshs 20,000 per month, with a focus on one-bedroom units.
Based on data from us and Estate Intel, here are some residential areas within the NMA that meet the Kshs 20,000 rent limit:
It’s important to highlight that affordability extends beyond the mentioned areas. Other neighborhoods like Utawala, Imara Daima, Umoja, and Kitengela also fall within the same rent limit.
Table of Contents
- Affordability Typically Lies Towards The Outskirts Of Nairobi
- Syokimau, Ruiru, And Rongai Are Among The Most Affordable Middle-Income Areas In The NMA
- Improved Infrastructure And Amenities Enhancing The Preference Of Satellite Estates, Besides Pricing
- There Has Been An Overall Increase In The Rental Rates Overtime
Affordability Typically Lies Towards The Outskirts Of Nairobi
The neighbourhoods near the city center are often too expensive for the average citizens, despite being popular choices. These areas, like Westlands, Upperhill, Kilimani, and Parklands, have rental rates for a typical one-bedroom apartment starting at Kshs 50,000 per month. Consequently, the majority of residents favor areas farther from the CBD because of their more affordable options.
Syokimau, Ruiru, And Rongai Are Among The Most Affordable Middle-Income Areas In The NMA
In the areas highlighted on the map with rents under Kshs 20,000 per month, certain places are even more budget-friendly. Syokimau, Ruiru, and Rongai, among others, stand out, offering sample one-bedroom apartments with rental rates as low as Kshs 10,000 per month. Here’s a breakdown of some affordable areas to rent in the NMA:
Syokimau & Mlolongo
Syokimau and Mlolongo are situated in Machakos county, easily reachable from Nairobi’s city center via Mombasa Road and Nairobi Expressway, which starts in Mlolongo. Monthly rents for one-bedroom apartments in these areas range from Kshs 10,000 to Kshs 20,000. Notable amenities include Gateway Mall, Grand Pacific Mall, Kings Premier Inn, and more.
READ ALSO: Syokimau Neighbourhood Guide
Situated in Kiambu County along Thika Superhighway, Ruiru town provides one-bedroom apartments with monthly rents ranging from Kshs 10,000 to Kshs 18,000. Key amenities within or near the estate include Ruiru Sports Club, Kenyatta University Ruiru Campus, and Spur Mall, among others.
However, Ruiru is becoming a popular residential area fueled by the infrastructure developments in the area. Multi use developments like Tatu City are located in Ruiru. Another development of a similar nature is Northlands City.
Ongata Rongai, situated in Kajiado County, is conveniently accessed from Nairobi through Magadi Road. Monthly rents in this area vary from Kshs 10,000 to Kshs 17,000, and notable amenities include Maasai Mall and Masai Lodge, among others. The diverse neighborhood accommodates tertiary students, young adults, and families, including those from Multimedia University and Africa Nazarene institution.
READ ALSO: The Guide to Living in Ongata Rongai
Waiyaki Way i.e Kinoo & Uthiru
Kinoo and Uthiru are situated along Waiyaki Way in Kiambu County, with monthly rents ranging from Kshs 10,000 to Kshs 17,000. Notable amenities in the area and its surroundings include Kinoo Primary School, Helfen Hospital, and Uthiru Arcade, among others.
Kasarani area, situated in Nairobi County off Thika Superhighway, offers one-bedroom apartments with rents starting from Kshs 14,000 per month. Key amenities within or near the neighborhood include Thika Road Mall, Kasarani Police Station, and Kasarani Primary School. Notably, Kasarani is home to the country’s well-known national stadium, Kasarani Stadium.
Kikuyu is a residential neighborhood in Kiambu County, easily reachable via Waiyaki Way from Nairobi’s city center. The monthly rents for one-bedroom units in this area range from Kshs 17,000 to Kshs 20,000.
This middle-income residential area is in Kiambu County, easily reached via Limuru Road from Nairobi city center. Although falling within the Kshs 20,000 range, its rents are relatively higher compared to other middle-income areas, ranging from Kshs 17,000 to Kshs 25,000 for a one bedroom apartment. This is mainly due to its strategic location near affluent areas like Runda and the presence of key amenities such as Two Rivers Mall, Village Market, UNEP headquarters, and more.
READ ALSO: Ruaka Neighbourhood Guide
Improved Infrastructure And Amenities Enhancing The Preference Of Satellite Estates, Besides Pricing
While pricing plays a crucial role in determining the affordability and popularity of an area, we observe that enhanced infrastructure and amenities have also contributed to the growing preference for the mentioned satellite areas.
The completion of key roads like Thika Superhighway, the Expressway, Bypasses, and Namanga Road, among others, has improved transportation systems and opened up the surrounding areas for development.
This, in turn, has led to the establishment of shopping malls, schools, hospitals, and other amenities, driving the demand for estates in these satellite areas.
There Has Been An Overall Increase In The Rental Rates Overtime
With the improvement in infrastructure and amenities, rental rates in most areas have increased over time, influenced by the rising costs of land and construction materials. For instance, areas like Ruaka, Syokimau, and Kitengela have experienced an average growth of 11% in their rates over the last seven years, although they are still considered affordable.
In general, as many people work in Nairobi’s city center and nearby commercial zones like Westlands, Kilimani, and Upperhill, the majority choose to live farther away or on the outskirts due to affordability. It’s worth noting that pricing is not the sole driving factor, given the enhanced infrastructure networks and amenities.
This article was written in partnership with Estate Intel.