Sunday, September 07, 2008

2 bedroom,Apartment for sale-Karen

No, am not selling real estate.I was in Karen a few weeks ago and what i saw confirmed what the Sunday Standard talks about in today's edition.the greed that changed Kileleshwa into a more expensive version of Umoja/Kayole has reached Karen.A decade ago when i lived in Karen,there were no matatus(just an old no.24 minibus).Most houses sat on at least more than 0.7 Acres(can only vouch for my neighbours then).

Land prices in areas of Nairobi that have access to the utilities-water and electricity have at least doubled in the past 5 years.Think South C,Kileleshwa,and Westlands.Developers have discovered a sure fire way to make money.First, buy or get into an arrangement with a land owner to access land in Lavington,Westlands or Kileleshwa.Second,get the building plans approved.Third,line up financing for the construction and mortgages from a bank.Fourth,put the artistic renderings of your XYZ apartments in the papers.Fifth,make sure you sell 80% of the apartments before construction.Sixth,bank your profits and consider yourself a successful real estate developer.

The danger of buying an apartment
The only selling point that most of the apartments have is that they are in a formerly expensive area like Hurlingham,Kile or Westlands.Otherwise,most of them have no new social infrastructure e.g. schools,social centres or recreational space.

If you are a snob please read on.Apartments tend to get poorer dwellers moving in as time goes by.i.e. if the first generation of owners were multi-millionaires by the second or third generation significantly poorer people will be living there.Therefore,snob appeal goes down and rent follows it.If you don't believe me take a look at the 1970s and early 1980s apartments that were built around Hurlingham and State house, those that aren't offices can't command rents of more than Ksh 40,000 per month. The rents for most of these new apartments will keep declining rather than increasing.Nairobi residents who pay rents of more than Ksh 50,000 per month want exclusivity not location brands. I don't get the rationale for buying an apartment.

Where is the housing market going?
Human beings value what they can't get or anything that has scarcity.I think the market will move towards gated communities a la Kihingo for the rich and detached single family units for the not so rich.If you do see a headline, like the one on this post in the daily classifieds then we will have hit the top of the market.

A-Team at wahi kuwahi
Is it me or is that the A-Team theme song in the background of coca-cola's wahi kuwahi radio spot?

2008 has been an exciting year.I have been doing a bit of travelling and plunged into a new venture.There are many opportunities to make profits in the current global financial crisis.

Going forward, i shall do fewer articles that deal with specific investment ideas like this one.Most of the posts will deal with macro ideas and observations on ideas and trends that will shape our kenyan society.I'm being selfish and wont give away my current strategies.

Thank you to all those who comment for the witty,critical and sometimes ignorant comments and most of all ,everyone who visits this blog.