The changing taste of young and enterprising home owners in Nairobi has fuelled the increasing luxury housing boom that has seen investors splash billions of shillings to woo the expanding middle- and upper-middle class in the city.
Luxury apartments are fast becoming a hit for young people looking for houses to buy that are not too far from social amenities.
Investors have moved to satisfy this demand, and upmarket suburbs like Kileleshwa, Hurlingham and Westlands are now dotted with such apartments.
The apartments, which are becoming the home of choice for many young home owners who also want to enjoy security in numbers, are changing the skyline of the city’s suburbs.
The city’s satellite towns, such as Athi River, Kitengela, Ruiru, Kiambu, Kikuyu and Ruaka are also experiencing a similar trend, but targeting those who want a quiet, semi-rural environment, but with all the amenities one finds in the city.
The growth of these units has attracted high-ranking clientele, including diplomatic staff and international civil servants working in the city.
Driven by the infrastructure development thanks to devolution, the property boom on the outskirts of the city has reached an all-time high, and has seen an exodus of middle and upper middle-class tenants tired of city life and looking for custom-made houses farther afield.
Luxury housing developer Sigimo Enterprising is one of the firms that has positioned itself to meet the increasing demand in an attempt to give home owners a fine and prestigious housing concept outside the bustling city.
Their upcoming Lenana Gardens in the heart of the scenic Ngong Hills Forest is likely to be a game changer because of its unique location on the periphery of the central business district.
The area, which neighbours Karen, has very few apartments, so it is likely to attract new young home owners who want to live in a serene setting.
The multibillion project, which will be ready for occupation in April this year, comprises 216 apartments, with each offering a spectacular view of the Ngong Forest and the Ngong Hills.
Besides enjoying fresh air as they the view the lush green Ngong Forest, the residents, especially birding enthusiasts, will also have the chance to see more than 100 species of birds from the comfort of their balconies.
“This is a unique project targeting middle-income earners since its design is simple but has the elegance that will satisfy the expectations and demands of home owners,” says Ms Zipporah Kamau of Mentor Group, which is managing the project.
Foreigners have booked close to 30 per cent of the units, while the rest have been taken by the local investors.
“The investors are attracted by the location as they will easily mingle with mother nature and an indigenous forest,” Ms Kamau told DN2 during a recent interview.
She says at least 20 investors from Dubai and South Africa are among the high-end business people who are keen on putting their money in the project.
Another upcoming project by the developer is Belcrest Gardens, which is located in the fast-growing locality overlooking the scenic Arboretum Gardens in Kileleshwa.
“The project’s proximity to the city centre, coupled with its secure location, has seen it attract the rising middle class as well as 10 investors from China, Dubai and India,” says Ms Kamau.
“Belcrest Gardens is designed with precise attention to luxury, space, as well as a coastal feel, with the balconies overlooking beautiful lawns to encourage relaxation and comfort,” she says.
Cash buyers of Lenana Gardens will pay Sh6.95million for a two-bedroom apartment, with the option of paying in installments, but that will increase the cost to Sh7.25million while those opting for mortgage will pay Sh7.95million.
Those who wish to buy a three-bedroom apartment at Belcrest Gardens will pay Sh19.9million, but if they opt for mortgage they will be have to part with Sh22.5million.
Due to its proximity to the city centre, at least 15 apartments out of the 28 at Belcrest Gardens have been booked and will be ready for occupation this month.
The two projects are funded by I&M bank, which is also giving prospective home buyers mortgages.