Friday, 29 April 2016


It is a forgone conclusion that Kenya’s real estate/property sector is the latest goldmine craze that has elicited sensation among the investors; small and big. The sector has remained attractive given its high returns, mostly windfall [super] normal profits. To date, the industry has continued to attract investors, both local and international, who have since developed hundreds of real estate projects more so in the residential segment as the country faces a shortage of approximately 200,000 housing units annually, according to the Ministry of Housing & Urban Development.  With everyone looking to grab a pie of the real estate cake, we have had a number of things going wrong, from overpriced properties to shoddy buildings. However, one of the aftermaths of Kenya’s real estate boom is the use of agriculturally productive land to put up concrete jungle. Well, this is a dangerous practice and should be checked by the government.

Among the most affected areas include Kiambu and Kajiado Counties which have had swathes of land converted to real estate jewels while many more are in the pipeline. Nairobi City County, still remains the metropolis with the highest opportunities in real estate. According to Hass Consult, a leading real estate company, annual house prices over 2015 rose by 11.9% in Nairobi satellite towns while rents rose by an average of 9% pointing to the growing interest in Nairobi’s metropolis. Counties that make up Nairobi’s metropolis include Kiambu, Machakos, and Kajiado.

Kiambu County particularly has been a magnet for property developers owing to its greenery and tranquility appealing especially to those who are tired of city life in a concrete jungle. Kiambu and the greater central Kenya region boasts of some of the best fertile land in the entire country. Some of the leading projects in Kiambu include Tatu City (2500 acres), Migaa (774 acres), Thika Greens (1706 acres) and Northern Lights (500 acres) among others.

The question that lingers is, what will we do when all the productive land is used to put up properties? It consequently goes without saying that developers’ appetite for agriculturally rich land is indeed a threat to Kenya’s food security. It is therefore important that a comprehensive policy pertaining to real estate development should be put into place to safeguard the productive agricultural lands for the sake of the country’s food security.