The year 2014 has been vibrant for Kenyan Real Estate and Construction industry. New buildings have consistently come up in low, middle and high class zones.
Upper Hill and Westlands areas have seen any available land being immediately bought up by multi nationals. The price of 1 acre of land in these areas has shifted from kes 350 million to the kes 600 million zone. Even though these amounts seem too high for an acre of land in these areas, surprisingly, demand is more than supply and i can forecast that the price will still rise steadily as multi nationals anchor themselves in the country.
International city concepts, mostly seen in South Africa, have also began to check in, with proposed cities along Thika road near Kenyatta University. These themed cities will definitely be popular due to excellent feasibility and return on investment, compared to other proposed cities such as Konza which did not have a well struck out feasibility and methodology on return on investment to investors.
Gated communities are also on the increase and 2015 will definitely see more of such for housing projects.
In General, Land costs will continue with the over 20% annula value increase as 2015 progresses.
Pre Engineered buildings, made of steel structure frame, for high-rise structures, will also become popular. Currently, such a high-rise structure is in the final stages of completion at Hurlingham. Once this is complete, and developers can finally see for themselves that buildings can be 100 percent supported by steel instead of reinforced concrete, they will soon also invite this thought at concept stage , from which the seed will germinate into further steel structure developments in Nairobi.
Cement sandwich panels are also becoming more common. With the quarry stones form Juja becoming more scarce and expensive, cement sandwich panels will become a regular feature within the Kenyan construction industry.
uPVC windows and doors, pvc drainage pipes, pvc roofs will also find a sitting in Kenya in 2015. These have been coming in to serve a very small niche but as construction costs rise, so will the pvc products become popular due to their low pricing.
Kenyan labour costs are steadily increasing, and at the same time , construction machinery importation becoming regular. Therefore, as 2015 comes in, it will be more economical to replace human labour with machinery for tasks such as excavations, wall plastering, painting, etc which have for a long time been the reserve for human labour. Simple house foundation excavation/constructions are now cheaper using small type JCB excavators than using human labour.
There will be an increase in machinery importation to aid in such as 2015 progresses.
As 2015 moves along, we expect higher land values,international real estate concepts such as theme cities and REITS, more use of new construction methods and materials and more use of construction machinery over human labour.
Francis Gichuhi Kamau, Architect.