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Accessibility improves Kileleshwa’s fortunes

By ALLAN OLINGO January 27th, 2014 2 min read

Nairobi’s most expensive suburbs are being outstripped in popularity.

They are gradually giving way to new areas as Nairobians move to more accessible neighbourhoods, experts have revealed.

Property prices in posh Muthaiga, Lavington and Brookside have eased back, while estates previously regarded as upper middle class like Kileleshwa and Kilimani have risen, according to a new report.

“Nine out of the 42 suburbs experienced falling house prices. Muthaiga, State House, Brookside, Lavingtone and Langata are some of the areas that were previously fashionable locations which are now no longer development hot spots,” said the report, by estate agents Hass Consult.

“It’s a pattern that reflects convenience of locations, emerging concentrations of jobs and employment,” said the firm’s head of research and marketing, Ms Sakina Hassanali.

Lavington saw a drop of three per cent in sales prices from an average of Sh27.5 million in 2012 to Sh26.7 million in 2013, as buyers opted for more accessible Kileleshwa and Kilimani whose asking prices rose by six and two per cent respectively.

However, in spite of a four per cent fall in prices, Muthaiga was still the most expensive area in which to buy a home, with the average selling price of a house there being Sh62 million, while the most expensive estate was Nyari with an average rental price of Sh271,000.

The suburb with the highest increase in average sale prices was South C with a 15 per cent increase while Upper Hill emerged as the area with highest increase in average rents with a 23 per cent increase.

South B also saw the sale prices for its houses increase by 13 per cent, from Sh10.3 million in 2012 to Sh11.6 million in 2013.

In the county’s dormitory areas, there was also a significant increase in asking prices with Kitengela and Athi River recording a 10 per cent rise year on year.

In Eastlands, Komarock saw an increase of seven per cent with the average asking prices for houses now Sh4.4 million, up from Sh4.1 million in 2012. Imara Daima saw property prices increase by six per cent from an asking price of Sh6.3million in 2012 to Sh6.7 million, while Nyayo Estate in Embakasi also had a six per cent increase —  from Sh4.98million in 2012 to Sh5.3 million.

Fedha, Madaraka, Mountain View, Langata and Valley Arcade saw a drop in asking prices but there was a surge in mid-market pricing in houses for sale in areas where commercial building has been most active.

The opening of many new headquarters and offices on Mombasa Road, and the heavy traffic that acts as a barrier to commuters working in them, fuelled a surge in sale prices in South C and South B.

Embakasi, home to the lower middle class, saw no such growth, with rents and house prices rising very little, while Mlolongo, also on Mombasa Road, also disappointed.

According to Ms Hassanali, the rush of apartment building in Mlolongo, on the premise of a new commuter belt stretching to Athi River, saw property that offered too few perks in space, pricing and lifestyle versus the considerable extra commuting time.

“This survey brings home how vital it is to understand market positioning and demand trends in property choices and investment. It is not at all the case that all property earns good returns,” she said.

“Property in areas that are up and coming, or that satisfies real and current shortages, or that correctly foreshadows future needs – all such properties continue to rise in value and pricing.

But ill-conceived projects, and properties in areas of lesser demand, can even experience price fall,” she said.