A post on a friend’s Facebook page had me thinking about development on the African continent vis a vis elsewhere in the world. The night time satellite image above says more than a thousand words ever could. May we progress further this new year.
Posts Tagged ‘development’
Searching for residential property in Nairobi is a game of musical chairs and may be a needle in a haystack. There is plenty on the market, but one needs to know exactly what they want to avoid going on a wild goose chase.
I set a couple of parameters for myself:
First, I will not pay insane prices for anything. I do believe we live in a property bubble and the laws of physics dictate that it will burst. Why everyone thinks that rule does not apply to Kenya is amazing and Alan Greenspan aptly labelled them ‘irrationally exuberant’. That said buying property in Kilimani, Kileleshwa and Lavington was out of the question considering that a 2 bedroom apartment in these areas starts at 10 million shillings ($ 125,000).
Secondly, I will not live in a concrete jungle. This is a very high standard to set when all around are property developments consisting of tightly packed apartment blocks and town houses. The first things to get cleared are the trees and later a concrete slab is laid out on the ground leaving fingernail sized patch of grass to represent a garden. Why on earth do we accept to pay top dollar for high density housing? I say that because quite often one apartment’s kitchen looks straight into the next block’s living room.
Thirdly, I do not wish to do a long distance commute, even if the city is laying down of massive highways and by-passes that promise to relieve Nairobians from nightmarish traffic jams. So the brand new suburbs of Athi River and Kitengela are not an option.
Fourthly, I will think twice about developments with silly names: ‘the paddocks’, ‘euro oasis’, ‘tiara villas’, ‘oyster paradise’, ‘brooklyn paradise’, ‘revlon greens’ are examples of how ridiculously some estates are branded. We are a metropolis, 400miles from the sea in the heart of Africa.
I dared to believe I could find something really nice that was fairly priced, spacious and with greenery.I had to wait a while and in frustration I drove up Kiambu road and stumbled on a development on the junction of the Northern by-pass, and it ticked all the boxes. Set on 200 acres there is plenty of space and greenery. Phase 1 was sold out and I quickly set my eyes on securing a spacious three bedroom apartment in phase 2, price 8.2 million!
The other attraction was the professional sales staff who took me around the project. Now if you have ever been property hunting in nairobi you will hae realised that more often than not the guy who shows you around expensive real estate is the watchman! Who, god bless his soul, can’t tell you the floor area, the rates payable, estimated service charges, legal costs and preffered mortgage providers. Its the equivalent of the doorman at DT.Dobie talking to you about the latest mercedes 500 SLK!!
I consider the estate I have found an amazing find, but here is one big catch, its off Kiambu road, otherwise known as ‘car jackers alley’. Almost everyone I know was dead set against me buying property there, security or the lack there of was the primary concern. But I like everything about the location: its close to the northern by-pass, its next door to Windsor hotel and country club (I can pretentiously say I live in Ridgeways…almost), village market is close by, phase 3 includes a mall and lots of developments are planned for the area. My gut feeling is property values will rise in a few years time.
I signed on the dotted line to book the apartment with the expected completion date being April 2011. The developer demanded 10% deposit to secure the booking. It is a leap of faith because they had not broken ground on the Phase 2 and I was essentially buying the apartment ‘off plan’, hence the attractive price. The only consolation I had was that the developers have a great track record. And with that done I went back to speak to the bankers……………