Tired of paying rent in Nairobi, rush is on to buy homes in Kitengela

Records show that Kitengela, which has infrastructural challenges, especially on its feeder roads, began as The Kitengela Group Ranch, which was subdivided in early 1990s in an attempt by the government to encourage private land ownership in pastoral communities with the aim of intensifying and commercialising livestock production.

Since the subdivision of the group ranch, land fragmentation and sales have continued at a steady and escalating pace, attracting private developers, especially from Nairobi. The population of Kitengela has more than doubled in the last 15 years. Kitengela is among the fastest growing towns on the outskirts of Nairobi. And like other towns in Kajiado County, it has benefited from the city’s rapid growth. Located about 30km South of Nairobi, the areas’ economy was, until a few years ago, mainly dependent on livestock keeping among the pastoralist Masai herders. Wildlife was also common on the surrounding plains, some of which border the Nairobi National Park. However, Kitengela today boasts several new buildings consisting of maisonettes, bungalows and rental apartments.

The area also has five cement factories which has attracted a good number of private property developers. Ms Leah Wambui, the Managing Director of Cheriez Properties, one of the players in real estate in Kitengela, says the rush to own a house in the area has increased in the past few years. “Many people come to Kitengela to buy homes; some do so through mortgage while others pay cash. I think many Kenyans, especially those living in Nairobi, are tired of paying rent. The demand for home ownership here is high.

We have sold quite a number of houses,” she says. Among the housing projects coming up in the area is Royal Finesse, a gated community comprising 78 houses complete with social amenities, located along the busy Kitengela-Namanga Highway. Ms Cynthia Adolwa, the projects’ business development manager, says that many home buyers are attracted to Kitengela because of the high quality of the houses there. She says a good number of house buyers Kitengela carefully scrutinize the houses and their location. “Many of them go for homes located along a major highway. Royal Finesse is about 100 metres from Nairobi-Namanga road, about 4km from Kitengela Town centre.

We have had a number of clients coming here to buy houses,” she says. Kitengela Ward administrator Stephen Letiya says that the County Government of Kajiado has welcomed investors, hence the town’s rapid growth. “Before devolution, Kitengela was growing slowly. We now boast major supermarkets, hospitals, manufacturing companies, colleges and high-cost private schools. About 12 major banks have also established branches here. This has created a lot of investment opportunities in Kitengela,”says Mr Letiya. Fifteen years ago, a 50 by 100 ft plot in the remote parts of Kitengela was going for between Sh70,000 and Sh100,000.

Today, the same piece of land costs between KES 2 Million and KES 3 Million, depending on how far it is from the main road. In Kitengela Town centre, a piece of land of the same size is going for between KES 10 Million and KES 12 Million, up from between KES 200,000 or KES 300, 000 more than a decade ago. The prices of houses have also gone up, depending on the size of the house and location.

Mrs Wambui adds that the presence of financial institutions in the area has also fuelled the town’s growth: “Banks give loans to borrowers and savings and credit co-operative societies buy huge chunks of lands and sell them to their members, who later develop they by building homes or commercial premises.”

Oct 26, 2016 Daily Nation - Life & Lifestyle By Paul Letiwa (See Daily Nation Article here)