Over the past three years, the volume of real estate construction in Kazakhstan has expanded by 40 percent, and yet vast amounts of people continue to see owning their own homes as a distant dream.
Economic research unit Ratings.kz revealed in a note published this week that around 2.5 million people — around 14 percent of the population — have no residential property they can call their own.
As of March 2017, there were averagely 21 square meters of floor area per person in Kazakhstan. That was up from 18.4 square meters in 2010 — a slow increase.
Rating.kz estimated it might take until 2035 to reach the 30 square meters per capita level considered the norm by international standards.
According to Halyk Finance investment bank, around 7 percent of families in Kazakhstan are currently renting accommodation, while another 10 percent live in one-room houses.
Most of those affected by the housing deficit are young couples starting out. Some rent, but many others continue to live with their parents, even after having two or three children. The breakdown of figures here is not clear, however.
Buying property is a lifelong undertaking under current conditions. The average Kazakhstani needs to put aside 30 percent of the salary for a 14-year period to be able to buy an apartment just 32 square meters in size.
Once it comes to buying in the larger cities, hopeful homeowners are realistically looking at paying off debts for more than a quarter of a century, even for relatively modest digs.
Renting takes a significant toll on standards of living too.
According to the state statistics agency, average salaries in Almaty, one of the country’s two wealthiest cities, currently stand around 188,000 tenge ($560). A one-bedroom apartment, meanwhile, can cost around 76,000 tenge per month to rent, equivalent to around 40 percent of that salary. For a two-room, that sum goes up to 108,000 tenge. Renting a three-room on just one person’s average salary is in effect near impossible.