24/6/13: Major property investors are taking confidence that Kenya’s new government will come up with policies that will unlock the full potential of the real estate in the counties.
Citing the government manifesto to devolve the responsibility of housing to counties, the property investors now want the government to come up with a policy that will set forth release of idle land to ease development of county housing in the wake of the new dispensation.
Ark Consultant’s Director Reginald Okumu revealed that approximately 70 percent of land in the country belongs to the government with religious and non-governmental institutions holding close to 15 percent posing a land hurdle for investors with an eye in investing in the counties.
“With the expected opening up of the counties, there is clearly going to be huge demand for housing in the counties for offices, house for staff taking up jobs in the counties and residential houses for Kenyans who view the county as the next investment hub,” said Okumu.
And added: “Lack of land for development will limit this growth of real estate in the county If nothing is done.
He was speaking at the official closing of the four-day 11th Property and Home Living Expo 2013, at the Sarit Centre. The exhibition focused on real estate opportunities and development in counties attracted county governments and property investors showcasing investment opportunities.
Jawad Jaffer, the exhibition organizer reiterated saying the greatest challenge property investors experience in county investment is lack of enough land for construction, a factor attributable to the continued high cost of housing.
“For a 300,000 national housing units demand to be met with a supply of 50,000 units, you expect land resource to shoot up. The government has the answer to the housing problem by availing land and other incentives to the market,” he said.
Citing the recent investor developments in Machakos and Homa Bay County, the property investors also asked the respective county government to take the lead in helping developers to however take the lead by helping the potential developers access the available land through partnerships.
“There is need for county governments to also come up with incentives that will encourage developers to move to other major towns in the country apart from Nairobi. For example in the manufacturing sector, the government has come up with a way where all those who have industries outside Nairobi import equipment from outside tax free,” said Okumu.
With the county governments expected to drive the economic growth of the country, there has been a focus shift in property investment for both investors and consumers with traction of peri-urban investments.
The exhibition showcased top of class commercial, residential and holiday home property investments from Kisumu, Eldoret, Mombasa, Nakuru, Kajiado, Kiambu, Voi, Malindi counties.
The English Point Marina at Fort Jesus and Acacia Holiday Homes in the Tsavos, two largely unique properties in East Africa will first be showcased to the public in the Nairobi exhibition and Ben Woodhams, Managing Director of Knight Frank Kenya who are the property agents says the exhibition will be a perfect location for its niched high net audience.
Other county based properties that graced the exhibition are Migaa’s Mitini Scapes in Kiambu; Llango in Malindi; Kikwetu in Athi River all owned by Homes Afrika.
The Longonot City, Ksh.5 billion Mount Kenya Homes Holiday Homes, Nanyuki Mall all in Nanyuki; Kisumu’s Ksh1.6 billion Translakes Estate will also be featured among others. The exhibition will has also nailed a number of county governments.
The exhibition came at a time when the Ministry of Planning and Devolution reported a 4.8 percent increase in 2012 up from 4.3 per cent in 2011 with total value of new private and public buildings completed going up by 9.6 per cent from Sh.46.4 billion in 2011 to Sh 50.8 billion in 2012.
The free to attend exhibition was a timely move showcasing the vibrant real estate opportunities in the 47 counties by leading developers and aims to tap into the emergent spending power of the middle economic class keen on avoiding steep prices of similar property in the capital.