Othaya, a town that was home to the late former President Mwai Kibaki, has remained sleepy with few economic activities.
The fewer activities, except for a few tea farms, have been mentioned as the reason for the slow growth of the town located in Nyeri and borders Nyandarua and Murang’a counties.
However, after the grand opening of the Kibaki Level Six Hospital, an annexe of Kenyatta National Hospital, real estate investors have taken advantage of the business opportunity created by the facility.
This has seen rental houses and business premises mushroom. House rents have skyrocketed after a population boom in the town making it one of the most expensive towns to live in Nyeri.
“The town has witnessed a rapid rise in population in the last six years causing the high demand for houses,” he said Erastus Njari, a resident citing the operationalisation of the Othaya Level Six Hospital.
“For the longest time, the area has been known for tea and coffee growing but with the increase in population, buying an acre in Othaya is now up to Sh2.5 million, and most of the roads are tarmacked which is also a contributor to the high prices,” he said.
James Gichohi, a property and housing agent, said that competition for the few available houses pushed land prices up.
“A one-bedroom house that went for Sh3,000 is now double the price while a modern two-bedroom that went for Sh5,000 is now between Sh15,000 and 20,000,” he said.
The presence of Kenya Medical Training College, with over 1,500 students, is another reason for an increased demand for houses.”