The real estate market changes often. Each year is different from the previous due to different factors. Things like the economy and new government policy would impact the real estate market thereby causing emergence of new trends. Trends in real estate are like the latest fashion. The things that are unique to 2019 or the current decade.
This decade has seen many people embrace life on the outskirts of Nairobi as opposed to clinging close to the CBD. There has been an influx of people looking to rent in places like Syokimau and Thika. Some even go as far as Machakos and Kitengela. This has led to growing real estate markets in these places. This trend has created new investment opportunities for people who like real estate.
This trend has been supported by the train service at Syokimau, the Thika Superhighway among other forms of infrastructure. These elements have made it easier to live that far away from the city and still commute into the CBD everyday for work and other activities. The same has also led to the emergence of amenities like malls and hospitals. These have further contributed to this trend.
Home ownership is not easy. It is a dream that we all have. Achieving it was a reserve for the rich and affluent until a few years ago. Now there is a new trend in town where you pay rent at the end of every month like a regular rental only to own the house after a certain amount of time. There is usually a deposit at the beginning of the transaction.
An example is those developments near Mlolongo, Bluebell and others. This scheme has become quite popular especially in those satellite towns that pop up everywhere. It is opening doors for people of a lower income level into the realm of home ownership hence its popularity.
- Gentrification and Reverse-Gentrification
Gentrification is a word used to denote fancying up a regular thing. An example would be the maize cob. It used to be a road side snack spiced with some chili and lemon. This snack has been gentrified by high end food establishments to become roasted corn with a side of lime. The latter is sold for a lot more than the last.
In a real estate situation. It would be like taking a run down building in Roysambu, painting it and fitting the units with expensive looking tiles and doors. The landlord would then charge thrice the amount of previous rent. Often if this starts to happen it spreads through the section of that particular hood. It turns that section into a higher end area than the rest.
This is common if a new mall or some sort of establishment is about to be built close by. Since such developments usually hike u the area rent, the landlord does touch ups to fit in with the new. Syokimau and Athi River have been gentrified. They were both rural areas but are now considered semi-affluent parts of Nairobi despite being in separate counties.
The reverse of that has also happened and continues to happen. An example is Ngong which is basically Karen view. It was for a very long time relatively middle to high end income living but now encompasses lower income living too. Recently a popular media personality made a note about the reverse gentrification in Kilimani as evidenced by the number of people using their balconies to dry their laundry.
- Target on the Middle and Lower Income Segment
The middle class hold the economy of the country. Any commodity that is aimed at this class almost automatically succeeds. For this reason, most of the reals estate developments have been aimed at the middle go lower income individuals. There have been talks of a possible boom due to the influx of housing supply targeted at the same segment. This could be true. Some landlords have started to run their developments into lower income friendly buildings.
Many landlords are also looking to invest in real estate near universities and colleges. Creating supply for students has been the in thing for the last three years or so now. It has served people nicely with more and more students being churned out of the secondary education system. These houses are cheaper, sometimes by 50%, than hostels. This fact has driven the student targeted real estate developments.
- Diverse Neighborhoods
Many hoods in Nairobi have diverse dwellings. You will find everything from bedsitters to multi-bedroom houses albeit in different sections. This has been done in an effort to attract a diverse class of people top the neighborhoods. Some time back, specific neighborhoods would be known for the types of houses.
An example is Umoja estate. You had two choices. The first choice would be a two or three bedroom house with its own compound. The second choice would be an old one or two bedroom unit. They were houses built with no modern functionality. Now you can find very nice apartment buildings with modern furnishings at a good price, higher than the baseline but still relatively fitting for the hood.
Back in the day getting someone to let one room out to a stranger they met randomly was unheard of. There are more horror stories now but it seems people are lining their walls with faith. There are more instances of subletting now. This is especially common for students in particularly out of the way places like KSL in Karen. There is a wider spread culture of home sharing and roommates now than there was ten or even five years ago.
Trends in the real estate market are important to both landlords and tenants. Landlords can get ideas on whether they should change their target tenants. Tenants learn of the new housing options available in Nairobi. It seems that these options are increasing by the day and at good prices too.