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Nakuru’s rising land prices give birth to highrise apartments

One of the apartments next to Bondeni slum in Nakuru City [Harun Wathari, Standard]

The recent elevation of Nakuru to a city has led to a sharp rise in land prices. This has resulted in the mushrooming of highrise apartments in high-end estates and other parts of the city’s environs.

This is even as the demand for apartments that had been turned into hostels owing to a large number of students in the city gain new status.

The changes come at a time when the city is expanding on all fronts to catch up with the huge population caused by increased rural-urban migration.

In the north, the city is expanding towards Bahati Sub-County heading towards Subukia.

In the east, it is expanding towards Mbaruk and Lake Elementeita in Gilgil Sub-County.

To the west, it is growing towards Salgaa, Ngata and Kiamunyi residential areas in Rongai Sub-County and some sections of Nakuru municipality.

In these places, apartments have sprung up at a high rate.

The locals, perturbed by the pace of highrise buildings coming up in the city at a time many of them are living on less than a dollar per day, say the city centre is already congested.

However, there are 100 acres for real estate development in the surroundings of Lake Elementeita, on the outskirts of the city.

Sitting along the trans-Saharan highway, this land is suitable for housing. The land has been split into one acre, half an acre and quarter acre plots.

An acre goes for Sh8 million, a half-acre Sh4 million while a quarter-acre costs Sh2.2 million.

“Ours is to serve and enhance the need for quality occupation through the provision of quality housing as most estates are cramped up surrounding the central business district (CBD), yet ample land is still and readily available on the outskirts of the city,” said Elemens Gardens Property Manager Fredrick Juma.

Dr Juma said real estate must catch up with the pace of city, which is expanding rapidly.

Residential and property development along Lake Elementaita has seen the growth of Kikopey Trading Centre, a 30-minute-drive from Nakuru CBD.

Analysts say congestion in the city centre and rapid expansion in its environs could also see it grow into a metropolis — just like Nairobi City’s environs of Kiambu, Athi River, Machakos and Kajiado counties.

In the high-end Milimani and Naka estates, rent and land prices have sharply risen. They are only within the reach of the business-rich-high class according to De-Negotiators Enterprises Managing Director Elly Ogutu.

Ogutu said getting an acre of land in Milimani Estate is difficult though half an acre is readily available for about Sh40 million.

“Full acres are scarce in this estate but half acres are readily available but very expensive and within the reach of the rich and business-class, which has resulted in the construction of high-rise apartments,” Ogutu told The Standard.

Milimani estate accommodates the wealthiest in the city.

In Kiamunyi estate on the western side of Milimani, the cost of a quarter acre plot ranges between Sh9 million and Sh10 million compared to between Sh5 million and Sh7 million five years back.

Here, homes have been extensively built. Apartments have also sprung up in Naka and Freehold estates — mostly inhibited by the working middle and high class.

A two-bedroomed self-contained house in Naka goes for between Sh25,000 and Sh30,000 in rent per month, which is not different from Freehold estate where average rent is about Sh25,000 per month.

Piped water

In the West of the city, residents have come up with homes at Ngata and Kiamunyi estates in Rongai Sub-County. However, the main problem of this region is the lack of piped water.

“Our main problem here in Ngata is lack of piped water and our appeal to the government is for provision of this important commodity,” said Alice Madowo, a resident of Ngata estate for a decade and a half.

Madowo said if the government can expedite the provision of piped water to their doorstep, then life would be bearable and comfortable.

The provision of taped water in this area could result in the rise of land prices three-fold according to Ogutu.

“Definitely, with the provision of piped water, land prices will triple and this might result in the slow purchase of land here,” said Ogutu.

The completion of Chemususu Dam in Eldama Ravine, Baringo County could solve some of these perennial water problems in Kiamunyi and Ngata Estates.

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