The growth of Laikipia University and revival of the tourism industry are stimulating the real estate industry in the expansive county. Property prices are trending up as investors cash in on the growing demand for housing and commercial space.

Nyahururu in Laikipia County is frequented by marathon and cross-country runners on practice before major events due to its high altitude, feeding off from neighbouring Rift Valley counties. “Investment possibilities here are commercial, residential and institutional developments like hostels, health facilities just to name a few,” says Cathy Achola Warega, the Chief Executive Officer of Urbanis Africa.

The company is managing Laikipia Slopes, a seven-acre prime property in Laikipia town, as real estate firms expand beyond Nairobi and major towns to counties. Laikipia Slopes is adjacent to Laikipia University and about 13km from the scenic Thompson’s Falls. The fact that it’s within the scenic views of Huhoini hills, a protected forest with fresh water source and within the vicinity of Subukia Valley has made Laikipia town a big attraction for investors seeking to tap the tourism and hospitality sectors. “Thompson Falls and the upcoming Panari Hotel & Villas have made Laikipia Slopes a gem for local and international tourists,” she says.

Laikipia Slopes targets both individuals and institutions with entrepreneurial or commercial focus. The property has been subdivided into plots measuring 0.125 acres (1/8) and 0.25 acres (1/4) to cater for all budgets, with each eighth going for Sh1.5 million. “The larger the size of the plot purchased the bigger the economies of scale. Bulk purchasers will definitely enjoy commensurate discounts,” she added.

Those buying a full acre will, for instance, pay Sh9.6 million instead of Sh12 million if it was sold in smaller units. Ms Achola-Warega said the Laikipia County government should leverage on great athletes from the North Rift to woo tourists from across the world for them to see where the world beaters live, eat and train. By capitalising on long distance greats’ fame, Laikipia County will attract more holidaymakers, resulting to high demand for hotels, serviced apartments, cottages and commercial developments in the area. She said Urbanis Africa’s financial solution point division has organsied financing with KCB and Co-operative banks.

Many Kenyans have developed an appetite for real estate, driving a rally in pricing that has pushed up the cost of land. With this vibrancy, con artists have invaded the sector, and many buyers have been swindled millions of shillings for non-existent plots. “Kenyans must be careful who they deal with when either acquiring or disposing of any property,” said the property expert.

Ms Achola-Warega offers some advice to those seeking to buy land. “If looking for land online or in local dailies, you must vet cautiously and deal with firms with established physical locations and identified individual agents,” she says. “Never hand out cash to un-established or unidentified individuals. It is always best to conduct a search at the Ministry of Lands before acquiring any property to establish its authenticity and true ownership.

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