Nakuru's real estate market, which has been on a roll in the past five years, is now slowing down as elections fever bites.
The town has seen a double-digit rally in land and house prices since 2008 when demand was catapulted by populations fleeing from other parts of the country following post-polls violence. Nakuru is considered a political hotbed and was a hotspot during the violence.
Real estate agents say the rising political fever has slowed the tempo in land and houses transactions as buyers adopt a wait-and-see attitude.
Property dealers say business has slowed down significantly since November 2012, and potential buyers are expected to put further deals on hold with March 4 only 47 days away.
"Since end of October, most of those interested in rental properties and land have put further investments on hold," said Simon Mureithi, the Nakuru branch manager of Muigai Commercial Agencies.
Though the decline is in the number of transactions and enquiries, property prices have stabilised but not edged downward.
Estate agents now expect fewer transactions in buying and selling in the first quarter, and hope that a peaceful election will restore confidence in the market once more.
"Every investor is keen on everything happening here. A peaceful outcome will greatly boost business since Nakuru is an attractive investment location," Mureithi said.
Construction is expected to continue for sites where it is in progress, but ground-breaking for new sites may wait until around May, which will freeze new jobs in the meantime.
"The ones who started building before August will continue till completion because stopping includes other unexpected spending like sudden increase of prices for construction materials," said Ben Oreni, a property investment and management consultant, who runs Oreni's Commercial Enterprise.
"We will have a number of activities withheld, but after May we obviously will see a rapid increase if elections come out clean."
Real estate developer Samwel Arama said that though investors are risk-takers, political stability is a key consideration for those exploring new opportunities.
"They must be very careful where they put their money. And therefore, peace in Nakuru before and after elections is crucial since property is a long-term investment," he said.
Arama, who is chief executive of Ortam Construction Company, is nonetheless optimistic that the county governance system will boost business confidence.
In the past four years, at least 10 public and private colleges and universities have opened satellite campuses in the town, and now has over 30 branches of financial institutions and more than 10 supermarket outlets.
Prices for office space have soared to a minimum of Sh45 per square foot in the CBD.
A population influx since 2008 has bolstered demand for residential housing, with rental prices notably rising as more people troop in ahead of the elections.
The sustained high demand has seen investors move to the outskirts of the town with new residential properties in areas such as Pipeline, Lanet, Naka, Ndundori and Kiamunyi estates.
The number of medium-sized hotel investments has also increased over the period, with some moving out of the CBD to the outskirts.