Upcountry families seek affordable land at Coast
Rising land prices in the Nairobi Metropolitan area following major infrastructural developments such as road bypasses, Standard Gauge Railway, dams, schools and colleges is forcing prospective investors to look for land elsewhere.
Kiambu’s close proximity to Nairobi city and shortage of land for expansion has also fuelled a drastic increase in land rating.
A similar land price spike has also been witnessed in neighbouring Kajiado, Machakos and Murang’a counties.
Land prices in these counties have shot to as high as Sh80 million to Sh100 million an acre of land in towns such as Ngong, Ruiru, Murang’a and Thika.
This has left thousands of low-income earns desperately seeking for alternative, affordable land that can accommodate them and their families.
Distance a non-issue
As a result, more people are moving to rural areas less exposed to development, hoping to own land as they await the government to provide electricity, water and roads infrastructure.
Others are travelling long distances to purchase land costing between Sh65,000 and Sh200,000 an acre in counties such as Kitui, Kwale, Kilifi and Lamu.
“I come from a family of six and we only own one-and-a-half acres, which is inadequate. I don’t have the millions they are asking for here in Murang’a, so distance is not an issue so long as there is space for growth,” says Margret Muthoni.
With hope that the government will actualise mega infrastructure developments, which are taking shape in the Coast, more average Kenyans have been trooping in the region in search of abundant land.
For instance, the government through Kenya National Highways Authority (Kenha) has an elaborate programme to improve road infrastructure to enhance traffic flow around the port of Mombasa.
Road projects completed include the expansion of the Sh6 billion Port Reitz- Moi International Airport, Magongo and Mombasa-Miritini roads into dual carriageways, interchanges and overpasses.
Other projects taking shape include the dual carriageway of the Mombasa-Mariakani Highway, the 18km Dongo-Kundu Bypass and Mombasa Northern Bypass, which aim to boost efficiency at the port.
Construction of the six-lane Mombasa-Mariakani road at a cost of Sh22 billion has already begun with funding from the European Investment Bank, Africa Development Bank and the State.
Work on the Sh2.7 billion Changamwe-Magongo road project has been finalised, paving the way for heavy trucks accessing Kenya Oil Refinery and Kenya Pipeline and acting as throughfare for commercial trucks leaving the port.
Installation of these projects and upgrading of the existing ones will help reduce travel time, improve connectivity as well as improve socio-economic activities in the coastal counties of Mombasa, Kwale and Kilifi. The projects will expand the capacity of existing roads, significantly easing traffic going in and out of Mombasa Island.
The proposed road transport network system is luring thousands of Kenyans to the region for land investment.
Dhahabu Land Limited director Peter Kamau says over 1,000 land buyers from upcountry have so far bought in excess of 1,200 acres at the Coast through his firm.
Thousands of others have acquired and are developing similar parcels using land selling agencies, such as Inuka Africa, Shamba Land and Urithi Housing Cooperative Society.
“Plots in areas such as Malindi are cheap and fertile for farming, but also touch major tarmacked roads, easing accessibility and ferrying of produce to various markets,” Kamau says.
Speaking in his office in Ruiru town, Kamau said that land in areas such as Kilifi and Malindi will soon double in value, as has happened in Kajiado county.
“The clean, calm environment is luring investors and this is why more of them have an interest to own land there.
Soon, rural areas in that region, where plots go for Sh65,000 and above, will be beyond reach,” he said.
He said buyers who purchased land at their Green City project in Kilifi, a half an hour’s drive from Maindi town will get their title deeds mid this year.
“We will be taking another lot of 500 potential buyers for site visits next February,” he says. Many other land agents are doing the same.