Kenyan coast: Tourism boosts real estate growth in Kilifi
Tourism continues to play a key role in the development of real estate sector in Kilifi county along the Kenyan coast.
Architectural Association of Kenya (AAK) President Mugure Njendu says the rush for property is a result of high demand from local and international tourists compared to the other Coast counties of Kwale, Mombasa, Tana River, Lamu and Taita Taveta.
Known for its tourist attractions, Kilifi has attracted even property developers hoping to cash in on the enormous demand for land and housing in the North Coast.
The developers are also hoping to provide more space and opportunities for Kenyans out to own quality and affordable houses, particularly along the white, sandy beaches in line with the government’s housing agenda.
Built environment status
An influx of real estate developments has been triggered by investors looking to satisfy demand for housing by upcountry prospectors and tourists. “There is high demand for housing by the growing coastal population for accommodation by mid- to long-term stay tourists, ” Mugure said.
Speaking when she launched the AAK January to June 2019 State of the Built Environment report, Mugure said the government’s priority on affordable housing remains a focal point for architects and property developers seeking to align themselves to meet the growing demand for land and housing.
“The national government’s agenda on housing seems to have awakened new dreams and aspirations of Kenyans hoping to buy properties at the Coast. Many of them are now targeting Kilifi as one of the most attractive counties for real estate development in the region,” she added.
The report attributes the investor interest to proximity to white, sandy beaches that create demand for residential and serviced apartments from tourists.
“Land is also affordable while devolution continues to attract large populations and investors keen on investing in county headquarters in the 47 units,” says Adventis In-house Africa Limited director, Douglas Ochong.
He says new infrastructure projects and establishment of county governments has also created demand for office and retail space as well as residential units.
New beach access roads in Kilifi have been construted and others tarmacked by the county government, boosting business for beach houses and the hotels in Kilifi.
In March 2017, President Uhuru Kenyatta launched the tarmacking of the 45kmMariakani- Bamba Road in Kilifi, Ganze constituency and the Kilifi-Kiwandani Primary School roads.
This aside, there is a proposed dual carriage road that starts from Sabasaba in Mombasa town, through Kilifi all the way to Lamu. Just before Kilifi town in Mtwapa is an ongoing project of road expansion and a bus park to ease congestion and unnecessary traffic.
According to Benjamin Nyawade, an engineer, access to a property is critical in addition to facilities such as malls, hospitals and schools. “People need to go to work. Property also needs to be affordable,” says Nyawade.
Mwenda Thuranira, a director at MySpace Property, real estate managers and developers based in Mombasa, says construction is easier in Kilifi because building stones come from local quarries while sand used for construction is found from around Malindi. “A beach plot in Kilifi goes for Sh40 million an acre, while the same size of land in Nyali is sold at Sh100 million,” he adds.
Kenya Tourism Federation Chairman Mohammed Hersi says development in Kilifi and the surrounding areas will not only be beneficial to the specific areas, but also to the Coast region as a whole. “Mombasa, being a small island, does not have room for the kind of growth that is possible in areas such as Kikambala ,” says Hersi.
This trend has led to huge developments such as the Vipingo Investment Park, an initiative by Centum Investment. Being a tourist destination Kilifi is well endowed with three to four-star hotels and several accommodation units .
“More people investing in real estate are building spaces and renting them to club owners who are turning Kilifi into a good spot for ultimate relaxation,” says Ruth Mueni, General Manger at Inuka Afrika Properties Ltd, a property developer in Kilifi.
She says the on-going real estate projects all in the North Coast are ideal for residential and commercial purposes. Kilifi county government has also been investing in the development and maintenance of an efficient, safe, secure and intergraded transport system.
Investing in the Coast has been a risk for investors on the issue of integrity because most plots for sale in Mombasa lack the right papers.