The real estate sector remains a major player in the country’s economy. Over the years, its contribution to the overall GDP has grown exponentially. According to the Kenya Bureau of Statistics, it grew from 10.5% in 2000 to 12.5% in 2012, in 2016 it was at a whopping 13.8% and even with the recession, it has grown to 20% in 2021.
This growth has been contributed because of:
- Infrastructure developments such as utility connections, improved roads, and modernization of major airports.
- Stability in the GDP growth.
- Demographic trends such as the increase in urbanization of 4.4 per annum.
These variables have in this manner driven the emergence of some unique trends in the real estate industry. Let’s look at 7 new trends in the real estate sector.
1. Office space
In 2020, the demand for office space in Kenya went down by 68%. This came as the government tried to stem the spread of COVID-19 in the country by enacting curfews and lockdown measures. They also encouraged employers to allow their employees to work from home.
The disruptions in the supply chain and the economic recession increased the need for companies to reassess their working models. Businesses will continue to find ways to reduce their overhead costs by looking for affordable options and adapting work-from-home models. Therefore, the uptake of office space in brick-and-mortar setups will reduce.
Also, as the sector grows, it sees new trends as clientele change their preferences and international companies create a demand for something world-class. Serviced offices are slowly gaining popularity due to growing SMEs and as the dynamics of office space design and requirements continue to unfold. More and more developers are offering semi-serviced offices by providing facilities such as partitions and kitchen cabinets.
To reduce operating costs and provide a safe and healthy environment for workers, property developers are increasingly adopting green building technology, which has been shown to increase employee productivity.
Another trend in office space is the uptake of a smart office. It’s one designed to feel like home so that to meet the customer’s demand. A smart office is one equipped with amenities such as a cafeteria, gym, and entrances for people with disabilities. It’s driven by the force to produce an elegant and quality modern office.
2. Increase in the demand for residential houses
With a rapidly growing population and even more so a growing middle class, the housing sector has seen an increased demand nationwide.
There has also been an increase in the demand for affordable housing for the 61% of city dwellers who live in slums and an increase in student accommodation. As a result, we have seen more and more developers adopting low-cost housing construction methods such as alternative construction technologies, which are known to reduce construction costs by up to 50%.
In addition, with the demand for a live-work-play lifestyle, master-planned communities are proliferating, and areas like Machakos and Kiambu counties are becoming hotspots. Notable urban planned communities include Konza and Tatu City.
3. Increase in the demand for land
Even amidst a pandemic and challenging economic times, land proved to be a resilient asset. In 2020, there was a 2.3% annual capital appreciation.
The annual increase in urbanization of 4% and the increase in population which is above average at 1.1% make it a potential center of economic growth. A relatively young and investment-strong workforce will continue to drive the increasing demand for land.
With the progressive expansion of major highways such as the Nairobi Expressway and Waiyaki Way, demand for land in the country is expected to continue to increase.
Also, the rise of satellite towns such as Ngong and Kimuka attracts investors to purchase land as the land prices in the said towns keep appreciating.
Infrastructure development has meant property values have risen, while a growing population has ensured continued demand. In a concept known as land speculation, investors are increasingly buying land to sell it later in hopes of it appreciating in the future.
In addition, to attract buyers, developers are using agribusiness to add value to plots for sale. This offers seasonal returns to their clients. Agribusiness includes agricultural activities, agricultural insurance, full farm management services, and a guaranteed sale of the products.
4. Change in the industrial real estate
Industrial real estate similar to commercial properties is undergoing a gradual transformation. A changing clientele that prefers high-quality inventory that enables modern distribution, retail, and manufacturing practices. This has resulted in modern industrial parks such as Tatu City which are built in such a way that they enable a living, working, and playing concept.
There is also a demand in the market for serine locations that are away from the congested CBD, and Mombasa Road areas. To fulfill the market demand, industrial parks are now moving to areas within Nairobi’s periphery, such as Machakos and Kiambu County, where they’re close to major railway terminus and airports.
5. Increase in the retail sector as a result of urbanization
With an increase in the middle-income class and more disposable income, both local and international developers are taking advantage of the ready market with the mall concept. This has made Kenya rank as having the second largest mall in Africa after South Africa.
The most remarkable of such developments are The Hub, Two Rivers Mall, and Garden City.
6. Real estate’s future is digital
As real estate companies revise their strategies to improve their digital customer experience, Kenyans are increasingly buying land through digital platforms. This is particularly attractive to Kenyans who live in the diaspora and are looking for opportunities to invest in land.
The land requisition process has also been made transparent with the Ministry of Lands providing a digital portal that allows landowners to conduct a land search, transfer ownership and obtain a title deed.
Another trend emerging is the building of unique apartments that look like stand-alone houses within Nairobi. As the population increase, constructors will look for efficient ways to house the increasing population. In addition, the tenants will have developed an inclination to finer spaces of living owing to the development of commercial real estate.
As the city continues to fill up, we’ll also witness a trend of people moving away from the noisy city to more quiet places. Therefore, many undeveloped cities will begin developing as investors invest in residential real estate to meet the demand.
The real estate industry has made tremendous progress and advancement. Various stakeholders in the industry are making commensurate changes to match the market demand and remain relevant in the field.
It’s important to study the trends as they are ever-changing to ensure you remain on the cutting edge and make profits. Even with these advances, due process remains a key component of real estate transactions. Real estate companies in the industry need to ensure they offer value, quality, and affordability.
Here’s a real estate property in Nairobi that you can add agricultural value to it by utilizing its spacious backyard.