What makes Mount Kenya region the coveted real estate destination?

Mount Kenya region, away from Kiambu, is emerging as a major real estate investment destination as gated residential estates, holiday homes, hotels, adventure parks and golf courses at various stages of development dot the landscape.

The region comprising Murang’a, Kirinyaga, Nyeri, Laikipia, Embu and Meru now has the largest development pipeline, according to a recent Cytonn Investment real estate report.

Meru and Nanyuki, for example, have been identified as a magnet for investors due to population growth and tourism activities.

The region is largely a leisure tourist market whose main attractions are the Mt Kenya, a number of national parks, game reserves and animal orphanages. For Nanyuki, the area has a high purchasing power from both the residents and the military personnel.

“Mt Kenya region is the best performing retail market with yields of 10.1 per cent at 90 per cent occupancy,” the report stated.

It comprises neighbourhood and community malls with average rental yield of 10.1 per cent, the Cytonn report says.

In Meru town, there is an ongoing mixed-use development of Greenwood City mall, which by August was 35 per cent complete.

The development comprises not only the mall, but also apartments. Regional retailer Nakumatt is the anchor tenant. Fusion Capital has recently stated that it expects that the construction will be completed by the end of the third quarter next year.

The Cytonn report notes that the attractiveness of real estate, which contributes nine per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), is that it has consistently outperformed other asset classes in the last five years, generating returns of between 25 and 30 per cent.

Laikipia County due to its vast wildlife conservancies and ranches has become a favourite destination for wealthy tourists who pay a fortune for the chance to live with wildlife in the pristine grassland.

Conservancies and ranches like Ol Pejeta, Lewa, Ol jogi among others have made Nanyuki a focal point for tourists visiting game reserves in Laikipia and Samburu counties.

Europeans, particularly Britons, are lured by the good weather that prevails all year round. Most have even settled in this quiet county or bought holiday homes near Nanyuki town, close to conservancies, expansive parks and other attractions like Mt Kenya, Lolldaiga hills, the Aberdare ranges.

For the Britons, the connection with Laikipia is not only embodied in the military personnel training in the neighbourhood, but also in less tangible aspects such as Prince William’s proposing to his long-time girlfriend, now wife, Kate Middleton, in a countryside cottage on the slopes of Mt Kenya when the lovebirds secretly flew into the country in October 2010.

Some Britons have permanently settled in the area, owning homes and ranches.

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