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Kenya leads Africa in exclusive high-end property market

Coco Loco Beach House. PHOTO | COURTESY |
Coco Loco Beach House. PHOTO | COURTESY | KNIGHT FRANK 

Global property manager Knight Frank has whet the appetite of Kenya’s wealthy class with the launch of a premium book which reviews multimillion-shilling private residential properties across the continent.

Africa View elegantly displays exclusive houses under Knight Frank, which went on sale in the first and second quarter of 2014. The most amazing aspect of the coffee table book is the fact that Kenya holds the crown for the number of high-end properties featured in the book.

South Africa

Although Ben Woodhams, managing director Knight Frank Kenya, says that South Africa will keep the book active, Kenya seems to be giving South Africa a spirited run for its money in the private property market. “With South Africa as our market, we are sure that we will never lack content for the book,” says Woodhams.

High-end Kenyan residential houses are advertised in 21 pages of the 40-page property publication. South Africa shares the rest of the pages with Zambia, Botswana, Tanzania and Uganda which are the only other countries on the continent featured in the book.

Africa View previews the stunning taste of affluent Kenyans by sampling select multimillion-shilling private residential homes in Karen, Lamu, Malindi, Kilifi, Laikipia, Diani, Watamu, Mombasa, New Muthaiga and Msambweni. Most of these homes are already sold while a few are still waiting for buyers.

Among houses documented in the book that have been sold is the top notch cosy and serene Miotoni Ridge in Karen. Miotoni Ridge came into the market in 2013 with 14 town houses. The houses were selling for a whopping Sh75million each, with the last house selling for Sh98 million this year, indicating the thirst wealthy Kenyans have for developments with good finishing.

“People today are still willing to pay premium price for premium property,” says Woodhams.

According to Knight Frank, the Miotoni Ridge developer is currently constructing similar houses in another part of Karen.

The most expensive property in Karen at the moment, according to Africa View, is Hogmead, a boutique hotel on 4.04 hectares. The guide price for the house is Sh565 million. It has six large ensuite bedrooms, six ensuite garden rooms and 12 staff rooms.

Laikipia

Laikipia, the region of choice for ranchers, prominently takes pride of place among prime residential properties with the Sh68 million Mukima Ridge.

Built at the foot of Mt Kenya, Mukima Ridge is an alluring development targeted at wealthy investors looking for great holiday homes with spectacular scenery. The development has 10 safari ranch houses on six hectares plots.

At the Coast, Al Hamra and Amani Ocean Villa are the priciest private residential properties in Watamu. They are selling at Sh146 million and Sh305 million respectively.

Amani Ocean Villa is a 938 square metre villa within the highly acclaimed Medina Palms development. The house has direct access to the beach with an infinity pool, which makes it more attractive and suits the profile of deep-pocketed buyers looking for both style and comfort.

Al Hamra, on the other hand, has split level pools in tropical gated gardens. The villa also has plunge pools, open air sleeping and a sunset lounge for a full coastal experience.

Mature markets

Contrary to popular belief that most of these exclusive properties are the preserve of wealthy foreigners keen on owning property in the country, most of the buyers are rich Kenyans who are keen on diversifying their investment portfolios.

According to Knight Frank, the appetite for lavish properties among Kenyan buyers is still buzzing, though the firm notes that this market segment has slowed down probably because of the unpredictable security situation.

The apartments market in Nairobi, Knight Frank says, is the most affected. “Prime residential market has recorded a notable reduction in activity in Q2 after being at a perceived historic high in Q1,” according to Knight Frank Kenya update report for the 2nd quarter of 2014.

The reports adds that developers are now shifting focus to two-bedroom, one-bedroom and studio apartments to ease the saturation witnessed in the prime market.

Woodhams says the number of properties in Kenya and South Africa affirms that the two countries are mature markets for anyone interested in the high-end property industry.

This is the first time Knight Frank has published a private residential review book for Africa. The company now plans to publish annually.

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