For a long time, Ndeiya, which straddles Kikuyu and Limuru sub-counties in Kiambu County, remained largely undeveloped despite having vast tracts of land.
Dusty roads, trading centres with outdated structures and scattered homesteads, some mud-walled, characterised the area, which can be accessed from both Kikuyu and Limuru. Meanwhile, other parts of the county, which is regarded as Nairobi’s dormitory town, experienced unprecedented growth.
This is because, the region, which is semi-arid, did not have good roads and other infrastructure that could attract real estate and other investors because it is semi-arid, which makes farming difficult, the area has been associated with poverty, with many of its inhabitants often requiring relief food despite owning sizable pieces of land.
But with the advent of devolution, things have started changing, especially after the commissioning of the tarmacking of the Thogoto-Mutarakwa-Limuru Road , which cuts through the area and links it with the main highway.
Now investors, especially those who want to settle in the area, are flocking in to buy land and build palatial homes, giving it a major facelift.
This has led to a sharp and steady increase in land races, with plots that cost between Sh300,000 andSh800,000 five years ago now going for between Sh2 million and Sh4.5 million, depending on the location.
One area that has recorded massive development is Karai, which is located in the part of Ndeiya in Kikuyu Sub-county, where palatial homes have been coming up.
Karai, which is a ward located a few kilometres from Kikuyu Town, has seen its Rio Nderi, Thogoto, Ruthigiti, Kamangu and Maya-ihii villages get new residents, who have bought and built houses in the areas but work in Nairobi.
For instance at Rio Nderi, there is an area which has been named “Nairobi Ndogo”, and according to the area ward representative Mr Samuel Mugwanja, it got the name because the newly built residential houses there resemble those in Nairobi’s high-end suburbs.
“Since 2014, people have been buying land with a view to settling in this area because with good roads, getting to Nairobi takes a very short time, Mr Mugwanja said.
In that area, he says, a plot measuring 100×100 metres was going for Sh1 million before 2014. Now a plot that size is going for up to Sh1 million, and the prices are still going up.
Previously, it was hard to find people subdividing their land for sale, but today, the Thogoto-Mutarakwa-Limuru Road in littered with signboards advertising land for sale. Land brokers have also invaded the area, which previous they previously shunned.
At the trading centres along the road, investors are putting up modern commercial facilities and petrol stations. Mr Joseph Kariuki from Thigio village in Limuru Sub-county, said many people are moving into the area, leading to an increase in land prices.
Mr John Mwaniki who runs Jekmas Service, a real estate agency with interests in Kiambu, Nairobi and Nakuru counties, said with the construction of the Thogoto-Mutarakwa-Limuru Road, will transform this “forgotten” western part of Kiambu and make it just as attractive for investment as Kiambu East, which comprises Thika, Juja and Ruiru, and mid Kiambu which comprises Kiambu, Kiambaa and Githunguri.
Kiambu West, which is made up of Kikuyu, Kabete, Limuru and Lari, has been experienced slow growth despite being along the Nairobi-Nakuru Highway, Only Kikuyu, which has a main shopping centre, and its environs, have recorded any notable growth.