The rising demand for business space in Eldoret town is driving many investors to look further afield in prime agricultural land.
The cost of a plot within Eldoret town has risen steeply in the past five years which has inspired owners of old premises to sell them to prospective buyers at exorbitant prices.
“The land prices is beyond the reach of most individuals driven by its strategic location in the North Rift region and links to the Great Lakes region such as Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo,” said Hancox Tum of Loy, a property dealer in their annual survey on the cost of land in Eldoret.
According to the study, a quarter acre plot in Eldoret town centre goes for about Sh100 million compared to Sh10 million almost five years ago.
Komen Lasoi, a property dealer said the town is experiencing growth in terms of real estate development, chain stores, learning institutions, financial and hospitality industry that has pushed land prices up.
Prime agricultural land in the environs of Eldoret town are being upgraded to commercial or residential use due to what farmers attribute to better returns as compared to crop production or dairy farming. It is confirmed by the number of high rise apartments and commercial buildings coming up in Elgon view, Pioneer, Road block, Kimumu and Maili Nne areas.
Among areas considered to be most expensive in Eldoret town are Elgon View where half an acre is selling at Sh8 million while a similar plot close to tarmac along Eldoret-Uganda highway goes up to Sh10 million.
Accessibility to suitable infrastructure including roads, reliable electricity and water supply, adequate security and space for expansion are some of the factors driving up land prices high in Eldoret.
“Agriculture is not profitable compared to investment in real estate that attracts better returns,” said Jackson Kosgei of Kipkenyo.
The demand for decent housing as a result of devolution has led to the mushrooming of bungalows and maisonette apartments to accommodate the senior officials from neighboring counties.
Jackson Mandago, the Uasin Gishu governor said his administration was finding it hard to attract investors due to lack of land to set up their business premises.
“We are working closely with the National Land Commission to repossess public utilities and allocate them to the investors as one way wooing them in the area” disclosed Mr Mandago.
He urged the investors to expand to outskirts of the town and tap emerging opportunities in the devolved unit and drive the 24-hour economy.
But the rising land prices within the town remains a factor that continues to drive emerging investors to establish businesses far-flung areas including prime agricultural zones.
Land owners have taken opportunity to zone the town and subdivide plots into smaller units to fetch higher prices.