David Nyamuro, 52, bought land in Malaa area on Kangundo Road in 2002 when this area was still bushy. Then, he had only two neighbours.
He bought five plots each measuring 50ft by 100ft about 300 metres from Kangundo Road at Sh35,000 each and later built a two-bedroom bungalow, his children’s house and a garage on two and a half of them. The area, he says, has grown fast and he now has many neighbours.
Other centres have also come up along the road. They include Kamulu, Mutathia, Joska, Koma, Tala and Kantafu.
“Today, the same size of land is selling for between Sh700,000 and Sh1.5 million, especially the ones touching the road reserve,” says Nyamuro, a father of four who works in Nairobi.
Plots in the interior, some 500 or 700 metres away from the main road, are easily available and go for as low as Sh250,000 for a 50ft by 100ft. Nyamuro says he plans to use the rest of his plots to put up a commercial building.
As you travel from the Nairobi Central Business District towards Tala through Kangundo Road, you will notice massive construction works. The road that starts from Outering Road has been seeing a lot of developments in real estate.
There are now palatial homes, thriving commercial centres, petrol stations and supermarkets on Kangundo Road. There are hardware shops, recreational venues, nyama choma (roast meat) and bar joints, real estate offices, construction material shops and timber yards while lorries ferrying sand are a common sight on the road.
A number of middle-class city dwellers have put up their own houses on Kangundo Road, while private developers are also busy putting up residential houses for rental and sales. On weekends, the road has heavy traffic jams, which extends to Ruai - the main shopping centre for Kangundo Road residents.
Some of the big real estate companies, eyeing a piece of the road and who have already started building gated communities, include Stima Investment Cooperative Society and HassConsult Ltd.
Stima is putting up a Sh1.3 billion gated community called Stima Plains on 20 acres in Malaa which is just a few metres from Kangundo Road. It will consist of 340 units of two-bedroom apartments, three-bedroom maisonettes and three-bedroom bungalows.
According to Francis Wambugu, project manager at Stima Investment, the project is targeting the middle-class looking for houses costing less than Sh6 million. The houses will cost between Sh3.5 million and Sh6 million.
Wambugu says they were attracted to the area due to infrastructure development such as good roads, including the Eastern Bypass that links to Kangundo Road and availability of huge chunks of land.
“In Syokimau, land is expensive because it has been bought and subdivided into smaller plots unlike Kangundo Road where you can still get many acres of land,” said Wambugu.
The estate will have a big commercial centre and a nursery school to serve the huge population expected to live there.
Hass Consult is putting up Casa Mia Estate comprises 454 three-bedroom villas on 41 acres in Mutathia area. The development is a 15-minute drive from the Eastern Bypass and Ruai. The houses will go for Sh5.95 million for cash buyers and Sh6.95 million for mortgage purchasers.
Each villa will measure 1,022 square feet and will boast an efficient design of the open spaces set in smaller court. Residents will benefit from excellent security and utility provisions, commercial arcade, recreational areas, a nursery school and green parkland. Completion date is expected to be in the third quarter of this year.
According to Imran Fazal, head of property development and sales at HassConsult, the company did a feasibility study on Kangundo Road, which revealed there was no affordable quality housing in the area.
“The relatively low land values available here was another attraction since it made it possible to build quality houses and sell them at affordable prices,” he said.
But the area is also known for cases of land fraud, with unscrupulous people selling plots that do not belong to them. Lack of piped water, which has forced residents to dig boreholes, is also another problem.
Despite these challenges, many agree that the growth of Kangundo Road is unstoppable.
Alex Muema of Ndatani Enterprises, a land selling company, says road networks from Mombasa Road linking to Kangundo Road is a major attraction. The Machakos County Government has also constructed roads, including from Daystar University to Kangundo, Mlolongo interchange to Kangundo and Kenya Meat Commission to Joska.
Muema says the Kajiado County Government’s ban on selling of land caused a ripple effect on Machakos County’s Kangundo Road areas since land in Syokimau is expensive and scarce.
“There is still cheaper land on Kangundo Road compared to areas around Namanga Road in Kajiado County,” he said, noting that two kilometres from the Namanga Road, a 50ft by 100ft parcel of land goes for Sh750,000 while the same size of land on Kangundo Road goes for Sh300,000.
He also mentions installation of security cameras as another attraction.
James Maina, director of Thorn Properties Ltd with offices based at Malaa area, says growth of the areas around the road has led to an increase in land prices.
“Five years ago, a 50 by 100ft plot was going for between Sh30,000 and Sh40,000. Today, the price is between Sh600,000 and Sh1 million for plots near Kangundo Road and Sh250,000 to Sh500,000 for those a few metres from the road,” says Maina, who notes that many people are buying large tracts of land then subdividing it into 50 by 100m plots.
“Kangundo Road is fast becoming another bedroom for Nairobi City residents. Many people, who live in their own houses here, would rather spend Sh200 daily on fare to and from the city than pay less in fare but more in rental housing elsewhere,” says Maina.