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Kenya’s super rich prefer Europe for second homes


Knight Frank Kenya managing director Ben Woodhams (left) with Knight Frank’s Wealth Report editor Andrew Shirley during the launch of the report in Nairobi. PHOTO | DAINA NGILA

Kenya’s super rich in search of a second home are likely to make the investment outside the country with most preferring to buy the residences in Europe, a global realtor says in new findings.

The United Kingdom (UK), according to the 2017 Knight Frank Wealth Report, is the most preferred location by the dollar millionaires.

South Africa features is the second most sought-after place as Mauritius, Spain and United States close the top-five preferred list.

The top five locations remained hotspots mainly for their convenience to dollar millionaires frequenting the countries for business.

The residences are also an alternative accommodation option to the kin of the super rich studying abroad with London—as well as other UK cities—being one of the most favoured higher education destinations.

The recently published report indicates that an overwhelming 68 per cent of Kenya’s Ultra High Net-Worth Individuals (UNHWI) prefer to take their children to study in foreign countries.

In contrast it emerged that only 28 per cent of global super rich preferred learning institutions outside their countries of origin, which might as well be an indictment of the local education system. 

“These locations are considered as investments safe havens by the super rich. If you also look at the percentage of the super rich sending their children to foreign land for studies, it makes sense for them to own a home in those countries for convenience and because they have the money to make the purchase anyway,” said Andrew Shirley, Editor Knight Frank Wealth Report.

On average, the report says, the super rich in Africa own 2.7 homes while 3.2 is the global rate. It predicts that 37 per cent of Africa’s UNHWI are likely to buy homes outside their birth countries in the next two years, where most (80 per cent) prefer Europe.

Francophone Africa’s rich traditionally opt for Paris while Anglophone Africans go for Britain. The home purchases have been the focus of several western anti-graft and money laundering watchdogs particularly for buyers from oil-rich countries.

About 46 per cent, 42 per cent, 41 per cent and 29 per cent of Latin America, Middle East, Russian and Asia’s UNHWI, respectively, are set to acquire another home outside their country of residence in the coming two years.

Top on the list of factors that influence a residence purchase is the lifestyle of the super rich and personal security.

They also consider the rating of the location on the safe-haven scale, the education for children, capital appreciation opportunities, access to healthcare and transport links.

The report also ranked Kenya as one of the global top real-estate investment hotspot after the UK, South Africa, Canada and Germany.

Kenya ranked high in personal residences scale with four per cent of the global HNWI (four per cent) looking to own a home in the country.

The domestic real-estate sector has experienced a boom for over a decade although signs are evident that the sector has been cooling off in the past several months.