Kenya’s rich are vacating their posh environs- Runda, Karen and Lavington

Nairobi’s Runda, Karen and Lavington suburbs registered the highest number of properties placed in the market in 2019, indicating a change in preferences among Kenya’s high net worth individuals.

Realtor, HassConsult’s latest survey shows Karen — revered with lush greenery and vast chunks of land — reported a 31.2 per cent share, mainly blamed on recent infrastructural developments, especially roads that have opened up the area to commercial development of malls, hotels and academic institutions.

The firm’s head of development consulting and research, Sakina Hassanali, yesterday said Runda, with a high expatriate community, had a 13.3 per cent share of properties on sale, indicating a changing on housing preferences from standalone properties to living in serviced apartments.

“Standalone houses are expensive to run with gardeners, cooks, security guards and utilities. They now prefer shared facilities that give them a benefit of shared costs and a sense of community,” she said in Nairobi.

The Hass Property Index (HPI) found Kitengela township reported the highest increase in land prices at 19.4 per cent, owing to ongoing investments in infrastructure and private industrial investments that have seen Kenyans move there in droves in search of jobs and less noisy residential areas.

Nondescript Limuru and Ngong towns enjoyed hyped interest due to ongoing road construction that has opened up the region for major residential investments.

Limuru saw a 9.5 per cent rise in house prices while Ngong reported the highest rise in rental charges at 18.6 per cent.

Medical facilities While Upper Hill remained the most expensive location at Sh539 million an acre, it experienced a 2.3 per cent drop, mainly blamed on poor access to the area that has in the past witnessed major multinationals relocate their regional offices to other Nairobi suburbs.

“Lang’ata is a mixed bag, where demand for rental properties propelled a 15.9 per cent rise in rental prices in the fourth quarter but a hushed need to dispose which reported a 3.9 per cent drop in property prices,” she said.

Karen, which now accommodates several high-end malls, elite schools, new five star hotels and a host of medical facilities, saw an acre selling at Sh62.4 million, while Lang’ata asked Sh65.7 million for an acre.

The realtor said Kenya’s capital is witnessing a resurgence of demand from global investors eyeing bargains in select high-end properties.

The investors, mainly from the Middle East, were salivating at handsome returns, unlike property prices in their countries now living in fear of an all-out war across the region.

“Kenya remains a favourite investment spot for foreign direct investments and the reduced property prices blamed on price corrections gives buyers a reason to smile. They are sure it is a good time to buy and wait for prices to rise for them to sell at a premium” she said.

By James Kariuki

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