Reuben Kimani, CEO of Username Investment Limited, updates MILLIAM MURIGI on recent developments at the planned technopolis on Nairobi-Mombasa road
Briefly tell us who Username Investment Limited is?
This is a land-buying and selling company founded four years ago. The company has three directors who have various roles. So far, we have issued over 4,000 titles and our slogan is trust. Our company targets current and upcoming generations some of who have been forgotten by the existing companies.
How many projects have you done so far?
So far, we have done 12 projects and 10 are fully sold. Only two new projects remain and we are happy to report that the projects are 50 per cent sold a month since we launched them.
We only sell land, which has been value added, is affordable and is located in potential areas. Our plots range between Sh50,000 and Sh399,000. We have seen so many firms promising affordable homes that they never delivered.
What are you planning to do differently?
First, we research on areas with potential before we invest. We try to move in before infrastructure is put in place and after the area opens up, we sell. We try to minimise the profit margin to keep our projects affordable. You recently launched Konza Haven, a project within Konza City.
How is the uptake so far?
Amazingly, this is our most expensive project yet the uptake is good. The project is 50 per cent sold and we attribute this to the fact that Konza City is taking shape.
With improved infrastructure to and within the city, many people are willing to invest there despite the current political uncertainties. The area is now becoming a-must-own project for real estate developers and this has seen property prices double.
What factors that have led to this growth at Konza?
Since the launch of Konza City in 2013, the area registered a huge demand over the last four years. Demand went down after an initial spat but has started picking again with the inauguration of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).
The train service has a sub- -station near Konza City. Moreover, the incentives that the government is offering to businessmen who want to invest here have also attracted new investors.
Has politics affected your operations?
Currently, enquiries have dipped by half. Many potential investors are opting to wait-and-see but we hope after elections, things will be back to normal.
What challenges have you faced?
There is a lot of fraud within Kajiado Land Registry because of lack of a proper filling system. This has resulted in issues of double allocation of land and through this, we have lost a lot of money. We have also witnessed closure of many upcoming companies.
Another challenge was the introduction of capping of interest rates. Banks are hesitating to give out loans and since this is a capital-intensive business, we have not been able to invest in other counties.
For opportunities there is a gap when it comes to homes/properties exhibitions, which need to be filled. Again, land agencies are few despite it being one of the profitable areas.
We hope to venture into housing. We are planning to start offering affordable houses and plans are underway. We also hope to venture into other sectors in the long -term.