Residential property in Kenya in demand

Existing and new residential development properties are currently in demand in Kenya, reports Kunaal Samani, a director of Pam Golding Properties in Kenya, which has an office in Westlands in Nairobi, and is looking to expand soon in the Mombasa area.

“The most sought after properties are located in areas such as Muthaiga, Kileleshwa, Runda, Gigiri, Loresho, Lavington and Kitisuru, and are mainly in the price range from approximately Kes (Kenyan shilling) 20 million to 100 million (approximately US $235 000 – US $ 1.2 million). Positively, the development sector is presently experiencing the most growth in demand as many apartments and townhouses are now coming to fruition and becoming available for purchase, helping meet a high pent-up demand from the domestic market,” he says.
Samani says there is a high demand among business executives and young professionals who seek to boost their standard of living and experience a more luxurious lifestyle.                      
Good buying opportunities:

“At present, from a local home buyer perspective, areas such as Athi River and Syokimau, which are located in the outskirts of Nairobi, offer affordable prices for two to three bedroom apartments starting from about Kes 5 million (approximately US $ 58 000).”
He says middle income buyers are attracted to areas such as Nairobi west, Langata and South C, where prices range from Kes 10 million to 20 million (approximately US $ 117 000 - $235 000), while for higher income buyers, areas such as Lavington and Brookside are popular, with a price range of Kes 25 million - 50 million (approximately US $ 295 000 – US $ 588 000). High net worth buyers purchase in areas such as Runda and Muthaiga, where properties start from Kes 50 million upwards (ie from approximately US $588 000).
Samani says areas with high appeal for South African home purchasers are those such as Gigiri, Muthaiga, Runda, Nyari, Kitisuru, Brookside and Riverside. Says Samani: “These are the most suitable for South African purchasers due to their vibrant, upbeat neighbourhoods with access to international schools, shopping malls, restaurants, bars and other amenities. In addition, rental yields on residential apartments range up to 7.5 percent for buy to let investors. Foreigners can acquire property or land on a leasehold basis (99 years) in Kenya and mortgages are easily available.

“Activity in the property market is gradually picking up as most buyers and investors had put on hold decisions until the aftermath of the elections. We expect to see prices rise now that the elections have taken place, and already we note an increase in stock coming onto the market as well as a good demand for property.
“From a development perspective we have sold out two projects namely, Trident Park Langata - which comprises 45 very appealing maisonettes, each consisting of four en suite bedrooms priced at Kes 20 million, and Trident Heights Riara, which is an apartment complex consisting of 24 units in three- to five-storey blocks with each unit comprising three bedroom apartments priced from Kes 21.5 million and four bedroom penthouses with en suite master bedroom priced from Kes 37 million.”
Commenting on the market in general, Samani says key factors which are currently impacting on market activity and the demand for homes include the following:

  • Location - this is the most important factor driving the property value and determines how much appreciation would take place to attract investment and other buyers.
  • Infrastructure - well maintained road networks are attracting purchasers of property. Properties that have been developed with access to good road networks experience a strong demand from buyers as opposed to those without such access.
  • Construction - construction of the building impacts on the value of the building, and elements such as architecture, design and materials used determine the worth of the property. Buyers seek properties with a long life span and sound and appealing architecture.
  • Land availability - if there is scarcity of land, the value of properties will increase in specific areas. Areas situated in the heart of the city are much more expensive than those on the outskirts. Most buyers are therefore more inclined to acquire land that costs less.
  • Amenities - properties that have amenities such as swimming pools and gyms offer a better price appreciation as they mostly attract new buyers who want to experience a luxurious lifestyle.

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