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August 26, 2019 / By Stephen Osomba
Why South B is Nairobi’s New Home of Real Estate Investment

A silent revolution is underway in Nairobi's real estate industry. Long-standing hot property suburbs are facing an onslaught from non-traditional property nodes. Kilimani, Lavington, and Westlands have for the longest time dominated the capital’s real estate residential housing market. However, it appears their reign on the real estate throne is over, making way for other promising locations like South B. Any real estate agent will tell you that at one point the three suburbs were the most sought after locations by prospect buyers. According to digital marketers at SMD Consulting Associates, Apartments for sale in Kilimani, Lavington and Westlands dominated the search engines on end.

Private developers that focused on these property hotbeds did such exceptional projects with high-quality finishing, designs and location. This was over and above the fact that the locations were prime in terms of good infrastructure, proximity to abundant social amenities, security, safety, and serenity among many other factors.

Young Millionaires Playground
Within a short time, Kilimani, Lavington and Westlands became the favourite address for the affluent, mostly those in the upper middle income as well as those in the high-income segment. Today, the aforementioned estates have perfectly carved out the reputation for being residential areas of the well-to-do.

The net effect of this perception spurred a new group of aspirational buyers who didn’t exactly fit the residential profile of the said estates but wanted to own or rent an apartment in the suburb. This set off a series of separate but interlinked events; an increased demand for apartment units that opened the gates for an augmented supply of units, and a spike in prices both selling and letting as well as land purchase prices.

Then What Happened?
The scramble for the increasing aspirational buyers led to an over surplus in the upper to high-end middle-income apartments. However, as it turned out, the demand was not sustainable leaving many developers with empty apartments. Despite being few, members of the traditional market segment who would otherwise afford to buy or rent the units were turned off by the crowded plots as developers put up so many apartments on the small plots. Other than the desire to meet the demand, their actions were largely motivated by the need to maximize the small pricey plots. The option would have been to build less crowded gated communities but sell at much higher prices. However, this would have proved difficult given the prevailing prices were already high.

In order to ensure the properties generated some income instead of being vacant, some developers opted to lease the residential apartments for commercial use. So in a typical gated community, some apartments were occupied by families while others were occupied by businesses. This also didn’t augur well with the resident families as it somewhat infringed on their privacy and serenity that they so much desired when they were deciding to buy/rent. Nobody would like to live in a place frequented by strangers in the name of customers.

Additionally, the areas started experiencing increased supply of commercial blocs which attracted businesses but disturbed the tranquillity of the neighbourhood further denting their attractiveness for residential purposes. This, in turn, triggered a gradual but steady exodus to other serene neighbourhoods and saw the commencement of a silent revolution in the real estate industry. And that, ladies and gentlemen, marked the start of the decline in investment allure of Nairobi’s hottest addresses.

Enter South B and Other Satellite Suburbs
Hass Consult, a real estate research company, in their quarterly Property Index Report for the second quarter of 2019 indicate that value in satellite suburbs are increasing while the majority of innermost suburbs are experiencing a decline.

Discerning home buyers are looking for viable options that provide value in emerging property nodes and suburbs that were previously ignored. Most customers are grappling with the challenge of striking a balance between affordability and convenience. The traditional estates like Kilimani, Lavington and Westlands are no longer affordable and are slowly losing their convenience.

South B is now turning out to be a practical alternative for homeowners looking for affordable convenience. For a long time, the neighbourhood has been a sleeping giant with great potential in real estate investment. However, that is quickly changing as developers are moving in to tap into the investment opportunities in the residential market.

Real Estate Investment Opportunity in South B
The neighbourhood is a rough diamond that is now being polished for greatness. Square Foot Real Estate Ventures is one of the leading private developers who are polishing the rough diamond with a modern residential apartment development. The project christened, 108 Sapphire, consists of 40 two-bedroom apartments for sale with amenities like ensuite master bedroom, open and closed kitchen plans, lift, backup generator, recreational area at roof terraces, and automatic parking system.

South B is increasingly becoming popular due to its proximity to the CBD, industrial district, and social amenities like Capital Centre, NextGen Mall, Mater Hospital among many others. These, in addition to the fun-filled lifestyle, is making the suburb a preferred alternative for those looking convenience and affordability.

Already the rental income levels are rising with 2 bedrooms going for Ksh.45,000 on average. Thus, investors keen on making reasonable returns in the long term should move with speed to capitalize on the available opportunities. Square Foot Real Estate Ventures has a great investment opportunity at 108 Sapphire apartments selling for Ksh.10.85 million. This is just one of the many investment opportunities available in the greater South B suburb.

Long View
The renewed interest in South B will see increased activity in the redevelopment of old buildings that would pave way for modern residential apartments, ultimately changing the neighbourhood’s face and skyline. Indeed, time is nigh for those interested in having a pie of South B’s real estate market.