Rupas mall in Eldoret Town.There is a huge demand for space in the town. PHOTO/FILE
Influx of wealthy investors seeking to put up commercial buildings in Eldoret has sent land prices in the town to stratospheric heights, in a move that threatens to slow down the region’s real estate sector.
The price of a quarter acre plot within Eldoret town centre, which was selling for Sh10 million five years ago is now being sold for a whopping Sh100 million – locking out many potential developers.
“Land prices in Eldoret are beyond the reach of most individuals driven by its strategic location in the North Rift region and links to the Great Lakes region,” Hancox Tum of Loy, a property dealer, says an annual survey on the prices of land in the town.
The soaring values have lured owners of old buildings to sell them to wealthy buyers at exorbitant amounts, thereby escalating an already overheating property market.
Komen Lasoi, a property dealer said the town is experiencing growth in terms of real estate development, chain stores, learning institutions, financial and hospitality industry that has pushed land prices up.
Prime agricultural land in the environs of Eldoret town are being upgraded to commercial or residential use due to what farmers attribute to better returns as compared to crop production or dairy farming. It is confirmed by the number of high rise apartments and commercial buildings coming up in Elgon view, Pioneer, Road block, Kimumu and Maili Nne areas.
Among areas considered to be most expensive in Eldoret town are Elgon View where half an acre is selling at Sh8 million while a similar plot close to tarmac along Eldoret-Uganda highway goes up to Sh10 million.
Accessibility to suitable infrastructure including roads, reliable electricity and water supply, adequate security and space for expansion are some of the factors driving up land prices high in Eldoret.
“Agriculture is not profitable compared to investment in real estate that attracts better returns,” said Jackson Kosgei of Kipkenyo.
The demand for decent housing as a result of devolution has led to the mushrooming of bungalows and maisonette apartments to accommodate the senior officials from neighboring counties.
Jackson Mandago, the Uasin Gishu governor said his administration was finding it hard to attract investors due to lack of land to set up their business premises.
“We are working closely with the National Land Commission to repossess public utilities and allocate them to the investors as one way wooing them in the area” disclosed Mr Mandago.
He urged the investors to expand to outskirts of the town and tap emerging opportunities in the devolved unit and drive the 24-hour economy.
But the rising land prices within the town remains a factor that continues to drive emerging investors to establish businesses far-flung areas including prime agricultural zones.
Land owners have taken opportunity to zone the town and subdivide.
Eldoret is expected to be soon elevated to become Kenya’s fourth City.
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