Property Futures

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Kenya Real Estate: Foreign Investment

Article: popular foreign-investment destinations in Kenya.

There are vast real-estate investment opportunities for both local and international investors, who wish to capitalize on the growing Kenyan property market. Although the rate of returns on foreign real-estate investments in Kenya are high and to some degree guaranteed, they are only so when foreign investments are made in the right type of property and in the right location.

The summit of Kilimanjaro. View on the Uhuru peak and the glacier around old crater, Africa's highest point,  Tanzania

The summit of Kilimanjaro. View on the Uhuru peak and the glacier around old crater, Africa’s highest point

Foreign investment Hot Spots in Kenya

City investment

Majority of foreign real-estate investments in Kenya are predominantly made within cities. These includes areas such as:

  • The central business districts (CBDs) of Nairobi, Kisumu and Mombasa.  These attract mostly foreign investors interested in commercial and residential properties, which generate high rental yields.
  • Most rental commercial property foreign investors investing in CBDs target corporate organizations and institutions with the capital and resources to invest in long-term rental properties. Some have ten year lease periods.
  • The city outskirts, such as Kitengela, Athi River, Thika and Ruiru
    • Provide additional space to accommodate the crowded city residential areas, especially for parking and traffic jams.
    • Cost effective for foreign investors because they reduce development costs.
    • Becoming a lucrative area for high-end and middle-class residential and commercial properties for both organizations and individuals.
  • Along city’s highways and roads that are opening previously closed off areas. The most notable highways that are increasingly attracting foreign investment includes Mombasa Road, Thika Super highway, Jogoo Rd, Ngong Rd etc.,

Most wealthy Asian and Middle Eastern investors prefer to invest in major towns and cities in Kenya in a bid to reduce their investment risks and to cut their capital costs.

Tourist areas

Majority of European expatriates and other investors from the Western world prefer to make their foreign investments in tourist areas in a bid to capitalize on the flourishing tourism sector in Kenya. The main areas of interests are:

  • Coastal areas of Malindi, Mombasa and Lamu

These resort towns have registered a 20% growth rise for high-end residential real estate beating international coastal towns such as Miami and Cape Town.

  • Major foreign investments are made in development of 5-star hotels, home resorts, luxury housing apartments, tourist lodges and restaurants.
  • Most notable are the mushrooming foreign-owned villas and mansions in these areas. The villas are used by foreign owners/investors to reside permanently, or to rent out to wealthy foreign/local tourists or alternatively using them as recreation areas when they come to Kenya for holidays
  • National Parks and Wildlife Conservancy Areas

Areas within and outside national parks and wildlife conservancy areas in Kenya are building their status as a hub for high-end residential properties for wealthy foreigners and locals who retire in these places, or those who see Kenya as an ideal recreation destination.

  • Foreign property investments made in these areas are mostly tourist lodges, plush country houses, ranches, wildlife conservancies and tourist hotels.

Places that have registered increased property investments in regards to their proximity to national parks and wildlife conservancy areas in Kenya include:

  • Laikipia: home to Lewa Wildlife conservancy
  • Mount Kenya Region: harbors major tourist lodges and wildlife conservancy projects
  • Tsavo East and Tsavo West: suitable for tourist lodges owing to its rich flora and fauna
  • Nakuru: low-cost foreign investment area
  • Naivasha: a new and a rapidly growing tourist town that is not only ideal for tourist-related foreign investments such as lodges and hotels but also lucrative for agricultural investments due to its fertile horticultural farms.
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