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?


bankelele said...

nice perspective on Karen: Readign the Standard yesterday, it seems the residents association have lost the fighting spirit and are resigned to the realization that its just a matter of time before apartments become a reality in Karen - which with the city council approval pipeline is inevitable. [did you see the house they tried to bulldose the other day? they don't like flowerpots or greenery it seems]

no-spin said...

I thought Karen had rules on sub-division. What's going on with our Lands office. Do we still have City planners? This is awful.

pesa tu said...

@bankelele:I dont know why they tried to demolish the beautiful house.I liked the pool and the palms.It seems the 'authorities' hate beautiful settings.

@ no-spin:Somebody ought to look at the planning department.There are areas in Nairobi where flats aren't supposed to be built but u go there and find flats.i.e they are zoned for single family residential dwellings.

@everyone: I think the problem is our values as a society and the tastes of the noveaux riche-newly rich.
We seem to worship money at any cost.Unfortunately, we-indigenous kenyans when we have money we spend it on similar things e.g. we all buy the same high end cars Last year it was VW Passats and Audis, before that Toyota Prado and now it's Toyota Harriers.
When was the last time u went to Nairobi hospital and found a ward built by Kariuki Otieno and family.
We don't appreciate beauty, art or life.All that matters is that i seem to be richer than my neighbour.

Linda O said...

Btw - here's a link to the standard article.

I definitely don't agree with classism but I do think much can be said for preserving the environement and the greens in Nairobi.

Ojijo's flippant comment "the rationale of keeping horses in acres of land while the pressure for property is surging. "This is not colonial Kenya; change is here," he says, tapping on his table leads me to believe that his motivation is $ and less about creating affordable housing.

Africaincorp Staff said...

I read these comments and I feel right at home in Cote d'Ivoire;We may have been colonized by different colonial masters, We may speak a different language,We may not share the same ethnic culture,but we sure do share the same fucked up attitude towards life.What a beautiful African world.

Things should and will change.

pesa tu said...

@linda O: No its not about classism its about taste and enjoying the beauty that GOD gave us.A concrete tower block is so by any other name whether apartment,flat or high rise dwelling.

@africaincorp staff:Remember it took the English 700 years from will the conqueror, the magna carta....etc to have a relatively clean and functional Governance sytem.We have barely passed thriugh the first 150 years

Anonymous said...

tey're not clean. Just good at hiding dirt under the carpet.

Modern politics is about properganda.

Be the first to tell a lie, then repeat it often enough until it becomes.. THE UNDISPUTED TRUTH.

Anonymous said...

kenya is one big slum. Why do the people living in karen think that we rate kenya by the way karen looks? Building concrete walls round their properties, electric fences and panic buttons is what you get in our prisons out here in the west. Equal rights is the key to a better tomorrow for all Kenyans and not a society divided into classes - the haves and have not.

pesa tu said...

@Anon1: Remember my words 'relatively clean' not 'clean' of course they r dirty but less than us.

@Anon2: while the electorate still worships handouts and tribe this will be the case for a while.

odegle said...

what surprises me is the people who pay such huge sums of money for property in karen. what motivates them?