Towns to Watch as Kenyans Move Away From Nairobi

  • A block of apartments in Nairobi.
    A block of apartments in Nairobi.
  • The real estate market in Nairobi has witnessed an emerging trend over the last year in which more and more residents are moving away from the capital and into emerging satellite towns.

    These towns are in different counties, but which border the Kenyan capital, where a rapid improvement in infrastructure and affordable housing has resulted in a mass migration from Nairobi.

    Satellite cities are small or medium-sized cities near a large town, for instance; smaller towns near Nairobi, Mombasa, or Kisumu. 

    Most of these satellite towns predate the metropolis’ suburban expansion and are partially independent of the bigger town both economically and socially.

    Motorists pictured on the Eastern bypass road.
    Motorists pictured on the Eastern bypass road.

    Some of the counties that have benefited a lot due to their proximity to the city include Kiambu, Machakos, and Kajiado, which all have satellite towns considered part of the Nairobi Metropolitan area.

    According to HassConsults 2020 Land Price Index report, these satellite towns controlled approximately 60% of property transactions in 2020.

    Kitengela 19.1% control, Ruiru 15.1%, Thika 9.4%, Ongata Rongai and Ngong both tied at 7.9% market share of the properties on sale.

    For 2021, the investment opportunity within the Nairobi Metropolitan Area land sector lies in satellite towns such as Limuru, Thika, and Athi River; and suburbs such as Ridgeways and Kasarani supported by the relatively high annual capital appreciation of above 8.0%.

    Here's a look at the satellite towns to watch in Kenya's Real Estate Market in 2021.


    With an estimated population of at least 490,000 residents, the town is one of the most heavily populated in the country.

    The rapid increase in population has been linked to the infrastructure development along the Thika Superhighway as well as the Northern and Eastern Bypass.

    Traffic on a section Of Thika Super Highway as seen on November 11, 2019.
    Traffic on a section Of Thika Super Highway as seen on November 11, 2019.

    The fast-growing town has also been earmarked for the Nairobi Mass Rapid Transit System making it convenient for people who work in Nairobi's Central Business District (CBD).


    Following the establishment of a vast road network in the area, Kikuyu is the only town along the Southern Bypass which connects Mombasa Road to the Nairobi-Naivasha Highway.

    Coupled with the ongoing expansion of Waiyaki Way, the satellite town has recorded a major boom in demand for residential houses.

    Athi River

    Located in Machakos County, the town has seen a massive influx of Nairobi residents over the last few years.

    The mass migration into Athi River and its environs was so great at some point it was described as a key 'dormitory' for Nairobi's working population.

    Satellite towns with high potential

    Below are some of Kenya’s fastest-growing satellite towns in no specific order because they are dynamic: Kitengela, Thindigua, Ruaka, Juja, Ngong, Thika, Lower Kabete, Rongai, and Uthiru.

    On the other hand, investor demand is expected to apply pressure on land prices in these satellite towns which could lead to a spike in prices. 

    There is also reduced disposable income among consumers and an oversupply in select sectors which include; the middle - high-end residential sectors.

    Kitengela shopping centre.
    Kitengela shopping centre.