Kenya’s super-rich landlords are selling off Nairobi property

 HassConsult research and marketing manager Sakina Hassanali addresses journalists in Nairobi on July 25, 2017
HassConsult’s Sakina Hassanali addresses journalists in Nairobi on July 25, 2017. PHOTO/CBR
Wealthy property owners are increasingly selling off their mansions and prime tracks of land in Nairobi in a rare turn of events that point to a near peaking of property values in the city.

According to real estate firm HassConsult, land owners in old high class suburbs such as Muthaiga, Karen and Kilimani are now advertising their land for sale, an occurrence unseen previously.

This, HassConsult says, is encouraging investors to test the market in these areas by adding value and optimising space to put up more units on the land.

“These areas have traditionally been prime and land has been hard to get and so when it is up for sale in the market it is sold, further encouraging more owners to test the market,” Sakina Hassanali, HassConsult research and marketing manager, told journalists in Nairobi on Wednesday.

“Development minded investors on their part are opting to develop high-end gated communities as opposed to units that occupy large parcels of land.”

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Exclusive suburbs such as Muthaiga, Karen and Kilimani have had stable prices over the last three years and the effect is that land owners are seeing opportunity to release some of the land holdings onto the market and fetch the now stabilised price.

Previously, it was extremely hard to find land being advertised in Muthaiga, Karen and other exclusive suburbs of Nairobi.

“For us it is an interesting thing to see because this land has been held on to for a long time,” Ms Hassanali said, adding that the trend is attributable to price stability in the affluent suburbs and a liquidity crunch that has seen landlords liquidating their assets.

It is however quite difficult to tell who is selling or buying what property considering that most landlords in the upmarket suburbs are privacy-hungry oligarchs, ultra-high-net-worth investors, tenderprenuers and politicians who are given to high levels of secrecy.

According to the second quarter of the HassConsult’s land and house price index, Karen and Langata were the biggest suppliers of advertised land in the Nairobi suburbs during the period under review.

The two estates have recorded double-digit asking price increases over the past one year – with average price in Langata rising 15 per cent to Sh58.9 million per acre, and that of Karen climbing 10.1 per cent behind Muthaiga, whose average land price went up 14.1 per cent to Sh138.3 million an acre.

According to the report, Upper Hill has retained its position as the most expensive suburb at Sh550.9 million per acre of land, followed by Kilimani at Sh427.3 million per acre and Parklands at Sh410.9 million an acre.