Firm eyes expatriates with Sh400,000 a month villas

One of the Hidden Creek Homes villas on Kiambu
One of the Hidden Creek Homes villas on Kiambu Road. A unit is letting for Sh400,000 per month. PHOTO | SIMON CIURI 

New high-end rental villas targeting the upper middle class and expatriates are now open for occupation on Kiambu Road for as much as Sh400,000 per month.

Funded by the Kenya Women Microfinance Bank, commonly known as Kenya Women Finance Trust (KWFT), the project is owned by a consortium of local investors who are seeking high returns in the lucrative real estate segment.

The investors are operating under the name Hidden Creek Limited.

The villas, named Hidden Creek Homes, stand on three and a half acres of land in the Runda Palm area and come with an in-house office area including furnished family rooms.

Kiambu Road has of late become an attraction to many investors due to its proximity to the city centre, including the neighbouring social amenities.

“The rent varies depending on the size of the houses where a four-bedroom unit will cost Sh350,000 per month and the five-bedroom one will be going for Sh400,000,” said Martin Gatheca, who is one of the investors and the contractor who oversaw the development to completion.

The project started 18 months ago and was funded through a mixture of debt and members’ contributions.

The Kenya Women Microfinance Bank lent Sh260 million to the project while members contributed Sh50 million, bringing the total cost to Sh310 million.

Even though two units have been earmarked for sale, Mr Gatheca said the idea is not to sell all the houses.

“Out of the 14 units which are completely done, we have outlined only two units for sale where a four-bedroom unit is going for Sh65 million while the five-bedroom one is selling for Sh70 million,’’ Mr Gatheca told the Business Daily on the sidelines of the official launch of the project last Friday.

Anthony Chege, the operations director at Kenya Women Microfinance Bank, said funding of the project was in line with its diversification plan having for long relied on lending to small and medium enterprises, mostly in agribusiness.

Stiff competition in the banking sector has forced different players to diversify their market offerings to attract more clients.

KWFT was initially set up to lend money to women who could not access funds from mainstream lenders. It later widened the range across its networks.

Mr Chege said the focus is now to target a big number of investors who are out to tap the opportunities in real estate and manufacturing sectors.

By diversifying its products, the Kenya Women Microfinance Bank hopes that besides increasing its clients base, it will also grow its bottom-line.

“There is a huge potential in the real estate as well as in the manufacturing sector and these are some of the areas we are eyeing in our diversification plan,” said Mr Chege.

“We have also deepened our funding in asset financing,” he said.

Regional expansion

The micro-lender said it had set aside Sh4 billion where 30 per cent will go to lending to small and medium enterprises.

The Kenya Women Microfinance Bank recently announced that it would enter Rwanda and South Sudan markets to challenge top-tier lenders such as Equity Bank, Kenya Commercial Bank, CBA, I&M, CfC, and Co-operative Bank who have already established their presence there.

The regional expansion plan is expected to be implemented by mid next year.