The Star (Nairobi)

27 February 2013

Kenya: County Status Revs Up Property Development in Migori

Real estate development in Migori has gained momentum in recent months as the town basks in the limelight as the county headquarters.

Construction has been revved up in anticipation of a high demand for office, accommodation and retail space once the county government takes shape.

Rents and land prices have increased since 2010 as the population grows to over 100,000 in the town, 20km from the Kenya-Tanzania border.

Migori is the third largest town in Nyanza Province after Kisumu and Kisii. A number of financial institutions now have branches here, with more anticipated as trade rises.

"The boom has been experienced after we streamlined our services to make it easier to buy land and pay rates, after realising that most real estate investors were shying away due to lack of order," said the town's mayor Peter Masara.

He said the local authority is now treating applications for approvals by potential investors with urgency by granting them prompt clearance.

Demand for rental accommodation space in the town has been on an upward trend as more civil servants are posted to Migori in preparation for a devolved government.

The county government is expected to drive demand for office space and trigger retail space construction.

Misara said the local authority has intensified efforts to ensure builders follow the laid down by-laws on the built environment.

Migori-based real estate developer Joseph Ayieko said new buildings have sprouted as keen local investors moved to place themselves in the market early.

The town is also strategically positioned to reap from a more integrated East African Community as border points across member countries are opened up for residents.

It is also close to Maasai Mara National Park and Tanzania's Serengeti National parks and serves as a transit route for tourists.

According to Julius Moseti, a senior civil servant, the town is yet to exploit its proximity to tourist destinations with hospitality facilities.

The local authority recently evicted small scale traders who had encroached on land along the main highway as it embarks on rehabilitating the town's physical planning.

"Proper planning will encourage more investors," said Joseph Bonyo, the town planner, adding that slums will be avoided.

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