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Naivasha’s property market bounces back

REAL ESTATE
By Antony Gitonga | January 1st 2016
Some of the new housing developments in Naivasha town. (Photo: Antony Gitonga/Standard)

Eight years ago, the housing sector in Naivasha literally came crumbling following the bloody post-election violence that hit this Rift Valley town.

Hundreds of landlords and tenants were evicted, property prices dropped to their lowest point and would-be investors diverted their attention to other towns. Many feared investing in the town that is home Lake Naivasha, Hells Gate National Park and a geothermal power plant.

Today, things are different as the town has regained its lost glory and is currently the talk among investors and a major attraction of tourists, both local and international.

The town hosts tens of hotels, Naivasha Buffalo Mall, four major supermarkets, major industries, with plans to open an industrial park in the geothermal-rich area of Olkaria.

Image boost

The recent announcement that the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) would be extended to Naivasha has further boosted its image and is likely to see land and housing prices shoot up. In the housing sector, various estates targeting the high and middle-income earners are under construction as the housing demand in Nakuru County soars. Among the emerging gated community estates are the Aberdare Hills Resort, Longonot Gate and La Casa.

According to the CEO of Bercom Commercial Agencies Luka Galgalo Mugwe, property prices in Naivasha has risen by over 200 per cent in less than five years.

He attributes this to the rise in the number of workers, mainly around the geothermal area and tens of hotels around the fresh water lake.

“The demand for land and housing in Naivasha is high and this has pushed prices up mainly around Naivasha town and its suburbs,” he says.

Mugwe gives the example of Villa View Estate on Moi South Lake Road where residential plots went for Sh700,000 barely three years ago. Today, such a plot goes for Sh2.5 million.

The seasoned property dealer adds that with the increase in the number of workers, the demand for housing is also rising.

Mugwe says that in a period of five years, major housing estates targeting the high, middle and low-income earners have come around the lakeside town.

He singles out La Casa Estate located on the Naivasha-Mai Mahiu Road as one of the modern and upcoming gated community developments. “We have seen Naivasha slowly rise from having a dented image to hosting major installations and modern housing estates like La Casa,” he says.

This comes as demand for housing in Nakuru is on the rise, with projections from the county indicating that 10,000 new housing units are needed every year. Only 2,000 houses are being constructed annually, leaving a deficit of 8,000 units as the population rises by the day.

Nakuru Governor Kinuthia Mwangi admits that majority of investors are targeting the high-end market, thus leaving a major gap.

Demand and supply

“We are constructing 2,000 housing units in Nakuru County every year against a demand of 10,000 units as the population increases by the day,” he said recently.

He, however, notes that this will come to an end soon following the emergence of new housing projects targeting both the middle and upper income groups.

“I am impressed by the ongoing works at La Casa Estate, which is targeting the middle-income earners and the models of the house are in line with new technology,” he said.

Located five kilometres from Naivasha town and 100 metres off the Naivasha-Mai Mahiu Road, the estate, currently under construction, has elicited excitement around the town.

The first phase will consist of 32 bungalows overlooking Lake Naivasha and Mt Longonot.

According to the project developer Ronnie Muraya, the houses come in three models, which target both the middle- and upper-classes.

“Majority of the housing projects in Naivasha, which consist of golf courses and hotels, have been targeting the upper market, leaving behind the middle- and lower-classes,” he said.

“This estate is unique in design and creativity and brings in openness, safety and various types of housing models,” he said, noting that with such upcoming projects, the issue of housing in Nakuru County will be fully addressed in the coming years.

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