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Why everyone wants a piece of Kitengela

The dream to own a home is driving Nairobi’s middle-class into areas once shunned by many. One of the areas is Kitengela which for the last five years has experienced a property boom.

Alex Muema, managing director of Ndatani Enterprises Limited said Kitengela is preferred because of good transport and weather.

“We have a good road from the city centre, a train station at Syokimau and favourable weather. These are factors driving real estate growth in the area,” he said.

Currently, land prices vary from Sh800, 000 for an eighth-acre plot to Sh1.4 million for a quarter plot, while an acre goes for Sh3.5 million. 

Two years ago, an eighth-acre plot went for Sh375, 000 and about Sh750, 000 for a quarter acre. 

Land prices

“Land is becoming more expensive on the Athi River-Namanga highway. An eighth acre is now going for about Sh800,000,” added Muema.

Tilda Meja and her husband bought a quarter-acre plot in Kitengela opposite the Export Processing Zone, for Sh1 million in 2010.

“Currently, land in the area is fetching almost Sh3 million for the same size. This is how fast land appreciates here,” she said.

The presence of major firms and parastatals has not helped either as their employees are also fuelling price increases.

Cement companies such as Bamburi, Savanna, Mombasa and East Africa Portland Cement are found in the area. Other firms are Athi River Mining, Kenya Meat Commission and Kenchic Ltd.

Companies

There are also schools, recreation centres and churches.

“Companies and Sacco’s have also accelerated development by buying large tracks and reselling them in small portions of eighth or even quarter acres,” said Charles Mwangi, a valuer with Rubyland Ltd. 

“The prices have more than doubled because of the increased interests . We hope this will be sustainable,” said Mwangi.

Despite the lucrative land deals, there are many shortfalls buyers have to contend with before getting their dream house. The cost of land in the area has been purely on a speculative basis .

Collins Otieno, a valuer said the high cost of land does not match its value.

“Kitengela has many limitations that devalue land. The area has black cotton soils, lacks sewerage systems, dependable water and infrastructure, yet the prices are high,” said Otieno.

“Anyone who wants to build a house will end up spending more than they bargained for,” he added. 

Tilda who has built a four-bedroomed massionate said she spent about Sh1 million on its foundation.

“We had to endure with the high cost of soil excavation, its disposal, construction of a septic tank, sock pit, water storage tank and access roads because the area did not have any,” she said.