Oman real estate group comes calling with Sh1bn villas for Kenya’s super-rich

Aerial view of Al Mouj Muscat. PHOTO | COURTESY

What you need to know:

  • The group is targeting wealthy Kenyans in their road shows which start Tuesday, reflecting the growing profile of the country’s super-rich.

An Oman-based real estate group is in the country scouting for Kenyan buyers of its villas, which are selling for as much as Sh1 billion ($10 million) each.

The group is targeting wealthy Kenyans in their road shows which start Tuesday, reflecting the growing profile of the country’s super-rich.

Executives of the property development, Al Mouj Muscat, say they are mainly keen on selling to Kenyans residential units in the expansive $3 billion (Sh300 billion) project.

“We have a lead on 200 locals we will be meeting over the next few days,” said CEO of Al Mouj Muscat Nasser Al Sheibani in an interview Monday.

“They are business people and politicians,” he said of the prospective buyers. Residential units in the project include apartments priced from $254,000 (Sh25.6 million), with villas being the most expensive at $10 million (Sh1 billion).

This is the first time a major real estate project from Oman is looking for buyers in Kenya, following developers in Dubai who have been the most aggressive in selling properties to locals.

The government of Oman, which owns the project on a 50/50 basis with Dubai-based conglomerate Majid Al Futtaim, has offered several incentives to prospective buyers.

These include residency for owners and their immediate family, zero personal income tax and freehold ownership of the properties.

For those buying the properties for investment, Al Mouj Muscat estimates they could get a net tax-free rental yield of seven to nine per cent per annum.

Built as a luxury waterfront lifestyle complex, Al Mouj Muscat features homes, public parks, an 18-hole links golf course, a 400-berth marina and hotels including one managed by global hospitality group Kempinski.

It is located approximately 20 kilometres west of Muscat City close to the airport. Mr Al Sheibani said the project is 40 per cent built and is expected to be complete in 2025.

The project sponsors recently booked purchase orders amounting to $15 million (Sh1.5 billion) from Tanzania’s rich individuals after a road show in the neighbouring country.

Al Mouj Muscat expects to register higher demand from rich Kenyans who have traditionally bought homes abroad for business or leisure.

Kenya currently has 8,500 high-net-worth individuals, described as those with at least $1 million (Sh100 million) in net assets according to a report by South Africa-based research firm New World Wealth.

The report said that this group of citizens has multiple homes, including in foreign cities where they go for their vacations and where their children live as they go to school in the foreign capitals.

Half of Kenya’s rich own second homes abroad, says the report, with London being the most favoured.

Apart from the UK, other favourite hotspots where these wealthy Kenyans own luxury apartments and penthouses for second homes include New York, Geneva, Paris, Cape Town and Johannesburg.

The search for Kenyans’ participation in the Al Mouj Muscat project is part of Oman’s strategy of growing its tourism sector as part of an overall plan to reduce its reliance on oil revenues that have been hit by the price crash.

“Developing large scale tourism and attracting more tourists could be an option to reduce imbalances in services accounts of balance of payments,” the Central Bank of Oman said in a recent report.

Oil and gas revenue accounts for an estimated 37 per cent of the country’s GDP and 84 per cent of total government revenue.

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