Why Kenya's Tycoons are Running to Athi River

  • Greenpark Estate in Athi River.
    Greenpark Estate in Athi River.
    File
  • Kenya's real estate moguls are migrating to Athi River in droves as the area continues to experience growth that has seen it become one of the most attractive areas for developers in search of high rental yields.

    According to the latest Kenya Retail Sector Report by Cytonn Real Estate for the third quarter of the year,  Athi River had the highest rental yield coming in at 6.2%.

    This was 0.6% points higher than the market average of 5.6% indicating sustained demand for rental units in the area.

    Athi River Station in Machakos County
    Athi River Station in Machakos County

    The area's attractiveness for investment has been pegged down to 3 key factors:

    1. Availability of affordable development land (price per acre of averages at Ksh4.1 million).
    2. Industrialization which has led to an influx of population in the area hence the need for real estate development to accommodate the growing population.
    3. Improved infrastructure in the area with expansion of Mombasa Road, presence of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) station in the town and construction of Athi River interchange has served as a major attraction for developers. 

    Estimated to be 25kms from Nairobi's CBD, the town has grown rapidly due to the factors mentioned above as well as the fact that it serves as the headquarters of Mavoko Sub-County in Machakos County.

    Real estate projects in the town include Gateway Garden; Safaricom Staff Pension Scheme’s Ksh4.4 billion Crystal Rivers Mall and Gated Community that sits on 25 acres; and the Athi River Green Park Estate by developer Superior Homes.

    The recent launch of the Nairobi Commuter trains has also seen more and more Nairobi residents move to the very outskirts of the city.

    Cheaper rental homes that offer good value for money in areas such as Syokimau and Kitengela also explains why both towns have seen a boom in demand for rental space.

    There’s a high demand for low middle-income housing in far-flung Nairobi’s metropolis as tenants opt for cheaper units in the wake of the prevailing high cost of living and uncertainty in the economic environment.

    Additionally, the report revealed a significant rise in the consumption of cement (2.2%), from 594,028 metric tonnes in July 2020 to 607,383 metric tonnes in August 2020. 

    A clear indication that Kenya's top real estate developers are working overtime to satisfy a surge in demand for quality and affordable housing.

    Centum Real Estate, through its project development arm, Two Rivers Development Limited, submitted regulatory filings to the National Environmental Management Authority seeking approval to begin construction of a residential development dubbed Mzizi Court in Two Rivers. 

    The development will sit on approximately 6.7 acres bordering the on-going River Bank housing project and will comprise approximately 1,650 one, two and three-bedroom (with domestic servant quarters) units.

    Some of the other affordable ongoing housing projects by Centum include; 265 Elmer One Apartments in Kasarani, and 365 Pavilion Place Apartments in Ruaraka.

    A housing estate under construction.
    A housing estate under construction.
    File