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Kenya real estate sector picks further up after end of elections

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The Kenyan real estate sector is once again booming following the conclusion of elections, with developers seeking to complete stalled projects while others start new ones.

Land transactions have equally gone up as jitters caused by the two polls dissipate, according to dealers, land registry officials and conveyancing lawyers.

Kenya held two elections in 2017, one on Aug. 8 and a repeat presidential poll on Oct. 26 as ordered by the Supreme Court.

The elections led to a lengthy electioneering period marred by violence and tension, which affected business.

In the capital of Nairobi, and its environs, that things are warming up in the sector is evident in increase in construction projects.

The last four months have seen developers start to put up both commercial and residential buildings.

In Kitengela, one of the fastest growing suburbs on the outskirts of Nairobi, property developers are seemingly in a rush to compensate for lost time.

At a section of the town, three five-story residential buildings are coming up, all having been started in October 2017.

"We want to complete this project by early May because we are behind schedule," James Angalia, a contractor at one of the buildings, told Xinhua in a recent interview.

Work on the residential block comprising two- and three-bedroom houses was to start in July 2017 but due to elections, it was pushed to late October.

Construction has been ongoing sometimes into the night.

"We will start renting them out as soon as possible.

"Already there are people who’re ready to book units," said Angalia.

Away from the building in the town’s central business district, a mall whose construction had been stopped last year in the midst of electioneering period is being readied for completion.

The huge complex would host a leading supermarket and dozens of shops.

The scenario is replicated in other parts of Nairobi and the suburbs on the outskirts, including Rongai, Ruai, Ruaka, Komarock, Kahawa, Juja and Thika.

Major upcountry towns like Kisumu, Nakuru, Eldoret, Mombasa, Busia and Kakamega are also experiencing the construction boom.

"I am now living in my own house in Katani, Machakos County, which I started building in September but stopped due to election uncertainties. I resumed in December and was done at end of January. I moved in soon after," said auditor Stanley Koros.

Conveyancing lawyer Hellen Loniker said enquiries about land and transactions have risen in the last two months.

"The reason is people are confident of spending because of the political stability.

"I am handling up to 12 transactions in a month, up from four between August and November last year," she said.

Commercial banks and SACCOs are now willing to lend people money, boosting property transactions, Loniker said, using the acronym for "savings and credit cooperative organizations."

Anthony Kuyo, a consultant with Avent Properties, a real estate firm, observed that not only construction is booming, people are also confident of moving from one residential area to another.

Data from the Nairobi County housing department showed that the value of approved building plans rose to 2.4 million dollars in December 2017, up from a decline of 1.9 million dollars.

Cytonn, a Nairobi-based investment firm, said Kenya’s real estate sector is set for boom following the conclusion of elections.

"Investors have a tendency to take a wait-and-see approach during the election period.

"This may be attributed to the uncertainty of the transitioning to a new government as well as the possibility of political instability and violence following disputed elections," noted the firm in a report.




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