Kisumu is experiencing an unprecedented real estate boom with land and house prices surging, as wealthy investors move in to tap into the city’s fast growing economy.
According to property dealers, the expansion of industries in Kisumu – attributed to recent infrastructural upgrades, has fuelled demand for housing in the city as workers in these sectors seek accommodation.
This has seen land, house and rental prices soaring by nearly 1000 per cent, thereby turning a sizeable number of landowners into multimillionaires.
At the upmarket Riat Hills estate (along the Kisumu-Kakamega Road), for instance, land prices have shot up to between Sh4 million and Sh5 million for an acre with rents for three-bedroom houses now ranging between Sh35,000 and Sh60,000.
City suburbs such as Nyamasaria are also experiencing rapid real estate growth, which has pushed up property prices beyond the reach of many people.
“In 2008, half an acre plot in Nyamasaria (5km from the city centre) used to be sold at Sh100,000. Now the same piece of land goes for Sh900,000),” said Nick Omondi, a property agent, adding that rents for bed-sitters in the area have surged to Sh6,000 per month.
In effort to cushion themselves against the rising costs of accommodation, many residents are now moving further away from the city centre where property prices are lower. This trend has opened up areas further away from the city.
“Areas such as Kibos, Holo and Awasi which were empty shrub lands several years ago are now dotted with residential units with most of the rentals being fully-booked months before completion,” said Mr Omondi.
It is in response to high land prices and growing demand for housing that developers are now building high rise buildings to maximise on land use.
This is evident from the high number of apartment blocks under construction in various estates in Kisumu, including areas such as Milimani, which were previously a no-go zone for developers of high-rise buildings.
Many investors contend they stand a better chance of getting good returns of their investments courtesy of the relatively higher rents in the lake-side city compared to Nairobi, Mombasa, Eldoret and Nakuru.