Both urban and rural dwellers suffer from a dire lack of adequate housing. As a result of the 1972 earthquake, approximately 53,000 residential units were destroyed or seriously damaged in the Managua area. The Sandinistas launched housingconstruction and tree-planting programs, but were hampered by a shortage of hard currency to pay for the construction equipment required. Hurricane Mitch in 1998 also destroyed thousands of dwellings.
Most dwellings are detached houses. Many rural residents live in ranchos or cuartes, or private units with some common facilities. Over 60% of all housing is owner occupied and 20% is rented.