While sales for middle-class housing has slowed down due to an economic down turn, the rich have stepped up demand for new, top–of-the range luxury homes. As a result, developers and foreign investors are battling to satisfy the demand. Kilifi county has become a favourite for such investors.
This is in light of construction of an exclusive city in the county at the Kenyan coast, set to commence shortly, according to Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) listed investment company, Centum Investment, which is behind the mega project.
The city will sit on 9,500 acres, an extension into real estate development by the company, extendeding their reach into high-end real estate development.
Regulatory filings illustrate that the project which is dubbed The Economic Hub, will be developed in phases and is divided to include residential, commercial, industrial, institutional recreational and public zones.
Overall, the project is expected to cost Sh800 million. “The master plan development has been phased for over 30 years, gradually implemented starting with 900 acres in the first years and an average rate of 200 acres per year after. It will start at the areas without sisal and later move to land with old crop that will not be replaced,” indicates part of the regulatory filings.
Centum’s subsidiary, Athena Properties Ltd, which is a construction firm, will carry out the infrastructure works for the state of the art development in Kilifi.
The development of the city is taking place on land it bought last year from Rea Vipingo Holdings, a plantation firm that sold off part of its land as it de-listed from the NSE.
The Centum project comes hot on the heels of yet another development in the region, as the Sultan Palace Development Limited, a real estate developer, recently launched the first construction phase of an over Sh5 billion exclusive beach resort project in Kikambala.
Dubbed the Sultan Palace Development Beach Retreat, the project is eco-friendly, with 60 per cent of green area and buildings taking up the remaining 40 per cent.
Pegged on the economic potential of Kikambala, Sultan Palace Beach Retreat is one of the biggest upcoming mega housing projects in the area, with an aim of boosting the country’ s real estate sector while reaffirming the tourism potential of the coastal town.
Sitting on 43 acres along 700 metres of beach, Sultan Palace Beach Retreat was conceptualised by planners Wimberley Allison Tong & Goo (WATG), while Planning System Services are the project architects.
“There was a gap in this sector as Kenya has proven to be a world tourism destination, with beach retreats as one of the most sought after destinations worldwide,” said Liu Tiancai, General Manager, Sultan Palace Development Ltd.
The retreat combines leisure and functionality, with inclusions of a residents club that comprises a beach bar, a gourmet restaurant, a cafe brasserie as well as gym and spa sections. In addition, residents will have access to a water park and children’s club.
The second phase will see the developer introduce five-star hotels. The developer is upbeat on the country’s potential for such developments, given the response received from the market since construction began early in the year.
Already some houses, for sale by invitation only, are almost sold out. According to Tiancai, properties around the North Coast experience a 10 to 15 per cent per annum capital growth and the developer anticipates investors in such projects will get a substantial return, both on capital and rental investments.
“The new homes coming up in Kilifi are attractively priced, even the ones on the higher end are available at excellent rates. For example, you can have two homes at Mnarani GreenPark for the price of one apartment in Nyali.
Other factors that make it a better option to invest in Kilifi include easy access to building materials, short commuting time and low urban density. If you are thinking about it, the time is now,” he says.