Naivasha has become a prime spot for investors seeking a piece of the luxury homes and resorts segment of real estate – with no fewer than three major projects coming up in the area.
One of the more eagerly awaited developments is the Sh120 billion Aberdare Hills Golf Resort, which promises to lay down Kenya’s first USGA Championship 18-hole golf course, which will be within a development that also houses a park, hotel and residential houses.
The developments will offers access to key tourist attractions in the region such as Hell’s Gate National Park, Lake Naivasha and Mt Longonot, as well as being within a one hour’s driving distance to Lake Nakuru National park.
“The growing preference for Naivasha as a conference tourism destination has led to increased demand for hotels, lodges and self-catering accommodation facilities therefore continuing to drive returns marginally above other local towns in the country,” said Dr Pritam Singh Panesar, managing director at Panda Development Company Limited, the developer of Aberdare Hills Golf Resort.
The development is set on 1,700 acres out of which only 30 per cent will be built on while the rest will be left for wild animals, birds and forest thus making it an ideal destination for tourists and discerning locals. The development site is on a high plateau to the north of Naivasha town, with the Malewa River on its north-west boundary.
The Sh85 billion Longonot Gate and Osotua Villas are the other two major luxury housing projects that are coming up in the area. Like Aberdare Hills, Longonot Gate also has an 18-hole golf course, and is expected to accommodate 1,500 luxury country homes, a commercial centre with tourist hotels and shopping outlets.
Unlike the others, Longonot Gate is positioning itself as a country home for the family just an hour away from Nairobi where owners can live and commute to Nairobi or which can be rented out when not being used by the family.
The development also has a school and hospital on the plan. Other developments across the country that combine the golf and residential formula include Sergoit Golf Resort in Uasin Gishu, Mount Kenya Holiday Homes in Nyeri, Thika Greens as well as Vipingo Ridge at the Coast.
In June, Panda Development Company announced the appointment of real estate expert Rod Taylor as the chief development officer for the Aberdare Hills Golf Resort, paving way for the start of the project. The first phase of the project comprises the golf course, a club house, a 120-room five-star hotel, villas and townhouses.
The residential villas and town houses are set to be occupied by the owners but they can also be rented out at will as self-catering accommodation to tourists.
“By renting private accommodation at Aberdare Hills Golf Resort, tourists are able to create their own ‘home away from home’ and it is relatively inexpensive way of staying in Kenya for large groups of people,” said Mr Taylor.
The prices of homes will range from Sh18 million to Sh40 million depending on the house size and the foot prints of the land, explained Dr Panesar.
The developers estimate that investors in the flagship Chapachula Village at the resort could get up to a 15 per cent annual capital growth in the first two years, with the properties subsequently projected to appreciate at an annual rate of around five per cent following completion of the golf course and conference facilities.
“We are piloting golf and conference tourism concepts that are relatively new in Kenya and whose potential remains largely unexploited,” said Dr Panesar.
In 2012, Naivasha town made its debut in the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) continental report, ranking 34th in Africa as one of the most popular destinations for international conventions. ICCA is a worldwide umbrella body for international conferences and conventions.
The town has, in the last decade become a favoured haunt for both government and private sector conferences, retreats and is one of the most popular holiday destinations for Kenyans who are attracted by its proximity and easy access by road from Nairobi. It’s just an hour away.
Currently, tourists pay approximately between $275 to $390 (Sh24,000-34,000) in low season for high end holiday rentals within Naivasha compared to $188 to $360 (Sh16,000- Sh31,000) in Nairobi.
The real estate sector in Kenya has been one of the fastest growing sectors in investment and returns, with property developers enjoying a boom in prices that has so far shown no sign of slowing down.