Free for all in E African construction frenzy

While East Africa’s public sector is focusing on mega infrastructure projects in transport and energy, local investment groups are taking control of commercial and residential real estate as a construction flurry grips Eastern Africa.

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Published in African Business, August/ September 2014

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Real estate market fractures along income lines

In a country where stand alone houses pose a security concern and apartments accord little privacy, the luxurious Living Stone Villas on Peponi road tries to perfect the concept of Communal Privacy.

Elevated from the main road, the compound is comprised of an exclusive six villas built on a 7/8th of an acre. And the homes seem to offer the best of both world: the insides are characterised by large rooms, high ceilings, glass doors and walk in closets while a tall perimeter wall hedges in the strip of garden and the swimming pool offering seclusion.

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Published in Nairobi Business Monthly, December 2013

Pausing for breath?

Industry pundits predicted in 2011 that the property bubble would burst but Kenya continues to ride the wave. The value of approved home plans in Nairobi increased by 115% in the first half of this year, according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KeNBS), and data indicates that approved residential building plans increased from KSh23.7bn ($277m) in the first half of 2012 to KSh51bn ($596m) in Q1 2013.

Riding on the sector’s coat tails, Kenya’s cement manufacturers reported strong profits in 2012/13 and the Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE) listed East Africa Portland Cement turned a FY2012 loss of KSh969m ($11m) into an impressive KSh2bn ($23m) profit.

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Published in African Business, December 2013

Spacious living, in an apartment

As the city of Nairobi becomes more crowded, an increasing number of urban dwellers are opting for a longer commute to work in exchange for a spacious and family oriented home environment. And the satellite town of Mlolongo is considered one of the favourites.

The area is convenient for anyone who works around Athi River, the airport, Embakasi or Industrial Area, and completion of the bypass promises to convert a gruelling journey into the city centre into a fifteen minute drive on a 25 kilometre stretch. It is an enticing proposition, and local property developers are cashing in on the utopian idea.

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Published in Nairobi Business Monthly, November 2013

The roofs over our heads

Nairobi’s residential landscapes are often ignored in favour of the more glamorous office blocks that are sprouting across the city, but recent technological innovations have shifted the focus back to the aesthetics of the estates – and more particularly to its roofs.

In the last decade, the Kenyan market has embraced stone coated roofing tiles, signalling a move away from the more traditionally accepted mabati (tin) sheets, makuti (wood) shingles, or concrete and clay tiles.

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Published in Nairobi Business Monthly, October 2013

Fragment home at fraction price

Affordable luxury sounds like an oxymoron. And judging by an office set up that verges on opulent, the sceptic could read grandeur in the Baobab Development Group.

But when they propose owning a fraction of a luxurious Malindi villas for Sh1.8 million, affordability adds itself to the mix.

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Published in Nairobi Business Monthly, August 2013

Diamond Plaza set to get fresh look with new complex

Nairobi’s Little India, Diamond Plaza shopping centre, is a feast for the eyes, the stomach and the wallet.

Located at the busy Highridge intersection in Parklands, its intertwining stairwells and narrow corridors are home to colourful clothing stores, spicy restaurant fare, bootleg copies of Bollywood DVDs, and most recently a shisha lounge.

Diamond Plaza (DP), owned by the Chatur Group, started as a single complex that has over the years expanded.

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Published in Business Daily, July 11 2013