In just five years, Ruaka area has graduated from a dusty village in Kiambu to a satellite town.
Many owners of farmland have hived off chunks and sold to real estate developers seeking to capitalise on the areaâ€™s proximity to Nairobi.
Ruaka is now serving as a satellite dormitory town for the working class who commute both to the nearby â€˜blue zoneâ€™ in Gigiri and Nairobi. Gigiri hosts the UN complex, embassies and NGO headquarters.
Well serviced by access roads to Nairobi, including the newly-built Eastern by-pass, Ruaka is now dotted with many newly-built high density residential houses.
Karuri Town Council chairman Johannes Kimani attributes the rapid growth to the willingness of landowners in Ruaka to sell to potential developers.
Micheal Chege, the manager of Options Properties in Ruaka, said land and rental prices in the area have skyrocketed in the period owing to the fast growth.
He said an eighth-acre plot cost between Sh800,000 and Sh1 million in 2007 but prices have jumped eight-fold depending on the location. Tenants pay anywhere between Sh10,000 and Sh20,000 for a one-bedroom house at present.
The area, which is evolving into a modern suburb, has gained popularity among middle-income earners seeking affordable decent housing away from Nairobiâ€™s congested residential estates.
The Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development has acquired land near Ruaka shopping centre for a mixed-use development.