Kisumu real estate transactions dip due to pandemic

Friday, June 19th, 2020 00:00 |
Bedvin Investments managing partner Benard Odhiambo. Photo/PD/NOVEN OWITI

Real estate transactions in Kisumu county have dropped drastically in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic even as players in the sector put on a brave face and hope for better prospects.

Property managers are trying to devise new ways to reach potential clients and survive in the midst of the government’s stringent guidelines on taming the virus.

Bedvin Investments managing partner Benard Odhiambo says real estate is a tangible asset whose transactions largely require physical contact.

“With the restrictions on movement and social distance, things have scaled down greatly as site visits are limited,” he says.  

However, dealers are beginning to embrace the use of technology as a strategy to cope up with the new challenges.

“We are using technology, especially in conducting visual tours and use of Google pins to mark locations and help clients navigate to property locations for self guided visits,” says Odhiambo. 

He regrets that despite fresh moves to re-open the Lands registry and the courts slowly, government offices are yet to be fully operational, limiting operations on legal contracts in the property industry.

Property letting is also affected negatively, with uptake of both commercial and residential spaces slowing down due to the ripple effects of the virus on the overall economy. 

Michigen Investment Limited director George Nyagowa. Photo/PD/NOVEN OWITI

“We are still hopeful that easing of the restrictions as well as use of technology will help the sector gets to its feet,” he says.

Michigen Investment’s director George Nyagowa says transaction in the industry have greatly slowed down in the recent months as a result of travel restrictions and closure of the Lands offices. 

As a result, demand for retail and rental space has dropped significantly with most buyers kept away by the restriction on movements while others have switched to a wait-and-see mode.

“The buying power has reduced with few transactions taking place just involving single properties worth less than Sh10 million,” he says. 

Save for few individuals who are making inquiries on property, many have taken a break. “We hope to see what will happen in coming days as the government strives to contain the virus spread,” explains Nyagowa. 

A significant number of rental and retail spaces are vacant in the town as tenants are opting to leave because of the pandemic.

Some retailers who occupied malls have been thrown out of business by the resulting effects as others closed down following the State ban of social gatherings.

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