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Most developers in Nairobi are opting for commercial buildings and shopping malls due to a growing market.

This came to light during the 19th edition of the Kenya Homes Expo which ended at the weekend at KICC. Most of the exhibitors were developers keen on selling their houses.

Homes expos have continued to enjoy quality attendance thus bringing in good returns to exhibitors through building essential business leads and doing successful business and visitors who continue to find solutions for their housing needs.

Daniel Ojijo, Mentor Holdings chairman and co-founder of Kenya Homes Expo, said the expos are increasingly becoming more efficient, effective and inexpensive marketing channels to most players in the real estate sector.

“We are also seeing investors in the property sector shifting to exhibitions and mall activations as preferred marketing channels to reach buyers buoyed by research findings which show that about 60 per cent of potential buyers believe that face-to-face encounter is the most important source of information when making buying decisions,” said Ojijo.

In the 19th edition, most would-be home owners flocked the expo in search of low-cost houses with most developers noting that such models were not working well for them in Nairobi.

“There is great potential in building property away from the common leafy suburbs due to the low cost of investment. Areas like Athi River, Kitengela, Kiambu and Thika are the new real estate hot cakes and are affordable,” said Joe Mungai of Tamarind Group.

Market appetite

According to Munene, most visitors wanted houses that were below Sh5 million, signalling a new market appetite which developers now have to fulfil. 

Kevin Juma, a banker said he was looking for a Sh4 million two-bedroom apartment on Mombasa Road.

“I have a loan of Sh4 million and so far I haven’t been able to find a house that will meet this budget. Most of the ones I have seen are a Sh1 million more. I think developers should understand that most middle class in Nairobi can’t afford mortgages that are beyond Sh4 million,” he said.

Most low-cost houses and land were to be found on Mombasa Road, Kitengela, Kiserian and Athi River, with the average cost for a two bedroom being Sh4.5 million and a three bedroom going for Sh6 million.

Land prices saw plots being sold for as low as Sh200,000 in Kiserian and Sh400,000 in Kitengela, Isinya, Konza and Kajiado and Machakos counties.