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PREFAB HOUSING : WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Did you know you could easily build an exquisite and affordable home or develop a property for sale in Kenya, in less than a fortnight?.

You could easily drop and assemble a modular home in just a few days, thanks to prefabrication technology compared with a challenging months-long schedule for a traditional mortar and brick home.

Prefabrication basically refers to the design and manufacture of units or modules, usually in a controlled environment remote from the work site and the installation and permanent assembly at the site. Prefabricated homes commonly referred to as prefab or modular homes mainly use the expanded Polystyrene (EPS) technology and more recently in Kenya, precast cement wall panels.

The materials can either be pre-assembled or completely assembled away from the site. This is how it can be distinguished from the traditional brick and mortar building practice that involves transportation of all the building materials like timber, brick and cement for construction at the site. In prefabrication, only the foundation is made this way. “If most Kenyans welcome this gesture then housing rates might reduce tremendously” says Mr Ndara, Marketing Manager at Villa Care Ltd.

Since most of the work is done at the factory, construction ceases to become such a headache. It speeds up construction time and saves on labor costs and is much more convenient compared to the conventional method that usually takes months if not years to complete. A lot of the problems associated with construction are therefore eliminated and one can be guaranteed of quality control, worker safety and reduction of construction waste. Such technology can be used to make affordable houses for sale in Kenya, enabling the ordinary Kenyan to own a house.

Prefabrication technology is certainly not new and has been in use for centuries. One notable structure is the Sweet Track (England) built in 3800BC. It is the world’s oldest known roadway which used pre-assembled timber.

However in Kenya, people are reluctant to embrace prefab housing because of a misconception. “Many Kenyans assume that prefab housing may not be durable since it is cheaper and takes a shorter time to construct” says Mr Ope, Project Manager at Mentor Group Ltd,

Prefab houses are common in many areas in the world, especially in the US, Malaysia and other South Eastern countries.

Most recently in the Kenya real estate arena, Koto Housing shocked many when they first proposed to build a 3 bedroom house in 14 days for less than 2 million shillings. They have since entered into a partnership with Jamii Bora Bank to see the construction of 3 and 5 bedroom units for customers in Kenya.

prefab-housing-kenya

Prefab housing in Kenya

The biggest challenge to prefab housing is the cost of transporting a prefabricated building and heavy-duty cranes from the factory to the construction site. This could cause quite a dent in the budget of those wishing to build their own prefab home.

“Prefab housing technology in Kenya may not really be time and cost effective. The challenge is finding the right technology for your project as well as skilled labor to pull it off. If they are learning on the job then might take just as much time as the traditional method.” This is according to Senior Architect Michael Odindo of Spectrum Architects.

At a time when the demand of housing in Kenya is at 200,000 units annually at a supply of only 40,000 units, this may be the lasting solution to the biting shortage experienced in affordable housing in Kenya today.

 

Have you read about the precast cement wall panels? Read about it here

Authored by June Siakwei

BELLCREST GARDENS

THE RISE OF ‘URBANITES’

Real estate developers are now slowly turning to these kinds of building environments and Sigimo Enterprises Limited, a fast rising real estate player is one innovative and trend setting developer that has taken the first step to provide such homes for the already established urbanites.

One such development is Bellcrest Gardens in the tranquil Kileleshwa suburb, a relatively fashionable urban location that appeals to the rising middle to upper class Kenyan.  The suburb is also a favorite of expatriates, UN and NGO employees.  This is a unique attribute of boutique apartments, as the intention is to build them in intimate locations with an enveloping atmosphere.  The mere fact that Bellcrest Gardens is set in the unique locality overlooking the famous Arboretum forest makes it an ideal setting for these kind of building set ups.

Bellcrest Gardens is designed with precise attention to luxury and space.  According to the CEO of Villa Care Limited, the marketing agency of the properties, Mr. Daniel Ojijo, upmarket apartments continue to shine and the appeal is now greater than ever.  He continues to add that the apartments highlight strong architectural elements and are an ideal showcase of design at its utmost element with warm accents across the rooms.  The apartments are designed with a coastal feel with the balconies overlooking beautiful lawns, built to encourage relaxation and comfort.

With convenient proximity to schools, shopping centers, hospitals and other social amenities, Bellcrest Gardens offer unrivaled spacious and modern 4 bedroom apartments and penthouses with 4 bathrooms with large airy kitchens with utility area.  Each house offers a spacious lounge and balcony with an uninterrupted view of State House Gardens and the Arboretum. The houses encompass a spacious master bedroom with an inbuilt walk in closet.  Finishes incorporate ceramic tiles and granite worktops in the kitchen.

These are twenty eight modern and spaciously built 3 bedroom apartments master en suite + self-contained Dsq measuring 170sqm.

Amenities include:

  • Swimming pool
  • Lift
  • Clubhouse
  • Gym
  • Backup generator
  • Excellent panoramic views
  • Ample parking
  • Perimeter wall with electric fence.
  • General Amenities
  • Backup generator
  • Dsq
  • Electric fence
  • Gym
  • Perimeter wall
  • Interior Amenities
  • Lift
How to invest in real estate in Kenya

WHY YOU SHOULD INVEST IN PROPERTY IN KENYA

Kenya has been in the Global limelight as a favorable investment destination, especially after the GES summit that happened in Nairobi in July 2015. International media has picked this up as expected. A great take I liked was by Forbes , a nice article entitled Why invest in Africa’s Fastest growing economy.

It is an open secret that the business environment in Kenya has been great, with many multinational companies setting up office in the recent history ; big names like Google, IBM, Microsoft, ORACLE, SAP, Coca Cola, GE just to mention a few.

I know you have seen the “for sale” sign on those apartments on your way to work, a number billboards about property open days as you sat in the notorious Nairobi traffic jam, or you just saw a whole newspaper page advert on a new real estate development in Nairobi. All these signs suggest something, the real estate sector is flourishing. It has experienced it’s share of good performance over the years, contributing to 7.85% and 8.12% of the GDP for the last two years respectively according to the Central Bank of Kenya economic review.

Investing in real estate in Kenya

Investment opportunities in Kenya, real estate.

This growth in real estate in Kenya is mainly driven by a huge housing deficit being experienced in housing in Kenya. Currently, the Kenya urban population is growing at an average rate of 4.2% annually resulting in a demand of about 150,000 new housing units every year. The market is only supplying about 20,000 units per year, leaving a yawning deficit. In Nairobi alone, the housing deficit stands at 80,000 units annually according to the Planning and Housing Executive Committee.

This factors present a superb opportunity for those wishing to invest in property in Kenya. With rental returns having grown by 9.7% over the past year and property prices having increased 3.46 times over the last 15 years, the prospect of making a neat return on investment real estate in Kenya is almost given.

However, there are several things to consider before investing in real estate in Kenya.

What You Must Know Before You Invest In Kenyan Real Estate

What to check when investing in property in kenya

What you should know in Kenya’s Real estate

There are several important things you need to understand and check before you get into a property transaction in Kenya. Like any legitimate business, there exists the very real possibility of getting swindled.

To avoid complications, it is first important to check the validity of the title deed, the zoning of the property and whether the land rates and taxes have been paid up to date. It also necessary to check if there are any caveats against the property or any pending disputes on ownership.

After all these check out, the process of purchase is pretty straightforward. But if you are new, it will save you a lot costly mistakes to enlist the services of a qualified legal counsel.

Then there is the issue of financing. If you choose to get a loan or a mortgage to finance your property investment venture in Kenya, be sure that you fully understand exactly how much you are going to pay back. Flexibility on the payment terms is a very good thing.

Finally is the consideration of security and insurance. Real estate investment, as any other asset, should ideally be insured. Shop around for the best insurer, and make sure you understand the terms, especially the fine print.

Property investment options in Kenya

Now that we know that investing in real estate in Kenya is a great idea, and we know what to look out for so as not to make mistakes. We can look at some ways one can invest in property in Kenya.

Investing in property in Kenya : land

Investing in land in Kenya

1. Buying land

The most popular real estate investment avenue in Kenya is Land. Investing in Land in Kenya is appealing simply because once you buy, you really don’t have to do much, most people buy and wait then resell later at a profit. As the real estate mantra goes, don’t wait to buy, buy and wait.

There are a several ways to add value to this sort of investment, such as fencing it, connecting power and water lines and building an access road. As with many real estate investments, location is always King.

Ofcourse the option of developing the land is available , and depending on what one chooses to build and the location of the property, different levels of revenue can be  obtained.

2. Building residential property in Kenya

Residential property is another property investment avenue in Kenya. Actually if one has the finances, one can buy land, build residential units and choose to sell or let. This strategy offers higher returns but requires a lot of expertise and is capital intensive. There are ways of making this work better by using different building technologies, like prefab housing that we covered in a previous blog.

Residential property in Kenya

Building residential property in Kenya

3. Commercial Real estate

Finally we have the option of investing in commercial real estate. Not known to many people, commercial real estate offers more reliable income than residential property investment in Kenya. This is because the lease agreements with the tenants is usually for periods not less than five years and with a rent increment clause that ensures the owner gets incremental income from the property over the lease period. This is also capital intensive and requires a degree of expertise.

Now that you know where to start, you can have a look at our extensive property listing and have us start you on your way to making it big by investing in property in Kenya. Alternatively you can contact us here.

Written by Nathaniel Ndegwa