5 December 2012

Kenya: Strong Demand Pushes Rents Up in Nakuru As Poll Fears Emerge

Rental prices in Nakuru have risen in the past few months mainly driven by strong demand from influx of people wary of upcoming polls.

Analysts say the town has earned the tag of a safe-haven, with many people having settled here permanently in the past five years.

Besides those seeking job opportunities, would-be investors from other parts of the country are prowling the town looking for suitable places to put their money.

Demand for decent housing has as a result increased, with landlords adjusting rents upward in the hope of cashing in on the trend. Rents have peaked compared to 24 months ago.

A two-bedroom house in Nakuru is presently being let at between Sh13,000 and Sh20,000 depending on the location and amenities, up from half the price five years ago.

Peter Kinyanjui, a real estate developer, said these prices are "almost four-fold compared to 2002 prices".

The pent-up demand for rental houses has seen a jump in housing investment, with high-density apartment blocks carving Nakuru's skyline. Demand however still outpaces supply, leaving tenants to scramble for the few available units being off-loaded into the market.

The town has in the past relied on the local authority's housing schemes, but the Municipal Council of Nakuru has since slowed down on housing delivery.

Facilities at its housing estates are currently overstretched, with many lacking running water in the last six months. Such include Kiamunyi, Olive Inn, London, Kiti and White House estates.

"Incidences of insecurity have increased in our estates, and they lack of water too," said Mary Jebet, a tenant in Kiamunyi.

Demand for housing has also arisen from the growing number of students and staff in various university campuses and colleges in the town. Both students and staff seek hostels and houses near the CBD to save on commute costs.

"We have seen many Universities and middle-level colleges open their campuses in Nakuru hence having many students who need accommodation," said Boniface Muhia, former chairman of the Nakuru Business Association.

The financial services and retail sectors have also created hundreds of new jobs in the town as it moulds itself into a business hub in the Rift Valley.

"Financial institutions, supermarkets and other businesses have opened shops and those working there also need houses to rent," said Muhia.

Copyright © 2012 The Star. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.