Investors and real estate developers are trooping to Kilifi County to buy and construct houses.
The newfound interest in the county has seen affordable homes coming up targeting middle-class citizens.
The reason investors prefer Kilifi to other counties such as Mombasa has to do with cost of land.
The other reason investors have given for eyeing Kilifi as an investment destination is availability of raw materials for construction.
They also see Mombasa as a congested city.
My Space Property chief executive officer Mwenda Thuranira says investors and buyers are rushing to Kilifi due to the affordable cost of land.
“Generally, land in Kilifi County is cheaper than in Mombasa. What is offered here in Mombasa for an acre is double that in Kilifi. Construction is easier here because stones come from areas in Kilifi while sand used for construction is found in Malindi,” he said.
He said a beach plot in Kilifi goes for Sh40 million an acre, while the same size of land in Nyali is sold at Sh100 million.
Mr Thuranira predicts that land in Kilifi will soon drastically appreciate as the town is on its way to becoming a major residential area for Mombasa people.
“It is just like Nairobi, where everyone is moving away from the city to Karen and Kiambu. Kilifi will now be the bedroom of Mombasa. Due to the high demand, we definitely expect the cost of land to rise sharply,” said Mr Thuranira.
Tourism players have argued that Mombasa is a small county, and it is normal for investors and proprietors to move to neighbouring towns.
Kenya Tourism Federation Chairman Mohammed Hersi says Mombasa Island is densely populated, while the cost of land keeps on rising.
“Mombasa is a small county, therefore we definitely expect it to grow northwards or southwards, which is happening now. Land is a limited factor of production, plus the cost of land is very high,” he said in an interview.
“This is beneficial to the county because right now Mtwapa has become a cosmopolitan place, where 80 per cent of property is owned by women,” he added.
Mr Hersi says the development in Kilifi and the surrounding areas will not only be beneficial to the specific areas, but also to the Coast region.
“There will be no problem if tourists stay in Malindi or Kilifi. This has been happening for a long time and it benefits the Coast region and the country at large. Mombasa also boasts of beaches such as Nyali, Jomo Kenyatta and Shelly.
“There is no way our tourism is going to be affected if investors move out of the county,” said Mr Hersi.
He added that Mombasa, being a small island, does not have room for the kind of growth that is possible in areas like Kikambala in Kilifi.
This trend has led to huge developments such as the Vipingo Investment Park, an initiative by Centum Investment.
“People now want to keep their cattle, have a small farm and have poultry in the same compound, which is not possible in the city," explained Mr Thuranira.
Mr Joseph Mbugua, the Inuka Afrika Properties Ltd executive director, says demand for affordable commercial and residential facilities is rapidly growing in the counties.
Mr Mbugua says Inuka Afrika Properties Ltd has so far undertaken 50 projects and issued 1,000 tittle deeds to new land owners.
“They only need to pay 50 per cent of the land value and pay the rest in instalments in three to six months period. But beware of land grabbers and land cartels in Mombasa, Kilifi and Kwale counties,” he said.
The firm is now involved in projects that include the 10 acres Inuka Homes at Msabaha in Malindi.
Others are Chakama Gardens, Inuka Gardens, Inuka Mtwapa Gardens and Bofa Gardens in Kilifi.
Under these projects, a 70 by 100 metres’ plot goes for between Sh300,000 and Sh950,000.
Many foreigners, especially Italians, have made Malindi their second home.