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Want to have peace of mind? Insure that property

Increased demand for property insurance has seen non-life insurance premiums rise steadily in Kenya, according to various reports and industry experts. Increased demand for property insurance has seen non-life insurance premiums rise steadily in Kenya, according to various reports and industry experts. According to an A M Best report dated March 2014, Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria have witnessed a rising take-up of life and non-life insurance services. Read more

Nakuru sand ban raises building costs

Builders in Nakuru town and its outskirts are faced with tough times ahead as sand prices soar following a ban on harvesting. The National Environment Management Authority halted sand harvesting within Rhonda Ng'ambo quarries due to degradation and destruction of public utilities such as roads and open spaces. Read more

Kenya to benefit from low-cost housing plan

Kenya is among nine African countries earmarked by Lafarge, a leading building materials company, for the development of low-cost houses. Francois Perrot from the Lafarge’s innovation department said Lafarge will help improve the housing conditions of the poor by partnering with local micro-finance companies to come up with products targeted at low-income earners. Read more

One year later: What’s cooking in the Real Estate Investment Trusts pot?

When Real Estate Investment Trusts (Reits) regulations were finally gazetted last year, there was excitement across the country. The Capital Markets Authority (CMA) which crafted the rules described Reits as the “exploring of additional channels of raising long-term capital necessary to fund the scale of the projects envisaged under Vision 2030”. Read more

Today's surveyor has moved from being purely technical to leader and manager

Professionals, academics and businesspersons involved in land matters worldwide met in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in the third week of June for the 25th FIG (International Federation of Surveyors) Congress. The overall theme of the conference was ‘Engaging the Challenges – Enhancing the Relevance’, within the context of the FIG work plan for 2011 – 2014. Read more

Attracting diaspora investors

The growth of Kenya’s real estate market has brought with it great business opportunities with attractive monetary gains. From “mama uji” who ensures that construction workers enjoy their favourite meals at affordable prices to the estate agent who makes sure that the developer’s property is well-managed, Read more

Taxman doubles property tax collection to Sh2.1bn

The taxman has doubled collections from property developers and landlords in the fiscal year ended June 30, as efforts targeting the sector's tax avoidance yield result. The Kenya Revenue Authority yesterday said it has collected Sh2.1 billion from the sector from Sh1 billion in the previous year. Read more

How landlords rip off tenants through service charge

The list of shame on the notice board said it all. The board, strategically placed just outside the well-known estate near Mombasa Road, had names of those who had defaulted on service charge. The management apparently thought the best way to deal with that was to name and shame the defaulters by writing their initials, Read more

Nairobi drops 30 slots in global cost of living survey

Nairobi has slid 30 positions this year in a global ranking of cost of living for expatriates by UK-based advisory firm Mercer. In the survey released last Thursday, Nairobi has moved closer to the top band of most expensive cities for expatriates globally. It has been ranked a joint 117th with Dhaka, Bangladesh, from 147th last year. Read more

What you need to know when buying real estate in any part of the country

If you intend to buy a property in Nairobi, then there are a few systemic principles that you should follow. First, you must identify the property and compare market rates. Once a buyer has identified a property, they will need to compare prices with surrounding properties to get an indicative feel of the market. Read more

City Hall to compensate investor Sh325m

City Hall has been ordered to compensate an investor in Westlands area Sh325 million for forcible eviction. According to a High Court ruling, City Hall will also have to pay Sh2.4 million for loss of profits to the investor whose land the County Government wants to use to put up a modern market. Read more

Power connection cost to double as subsidy withdrawn

Consumers will have to pay more to get connected to the national electricity grid following Treasury’s decision to end a multi-billion-shilling subsidy that has kept charges at half the true cost of the service. Read more

Develop houses that suit all buyers, says Lands PS

Players in the real estate sector have been urged to come up with products that suit the desires and financial capabilities of most Kenyans. Speaking at a conference organised by the Institution of Surveyors of Kenya (ISK), African Reals Estate Society and Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, the Principal Secretary in the Lands Ministry Mariam El Maawy told players in the sector to "sell" what consumers want. Read more

Proposed water law to give residents relief

Residents across the country are warming up to a new water law that seeks to provide for management of the resource in line with the Constitution. Water and sanitation have been a nightmare, especially in Nairobi where over 60 per cent of residents live in informal settlements. Read more

There are cheaper options to owning a home

Interest rates need to be much lower than what they are today. Currently, the Central Bank rate is 8.5 per cent. Banks should only add a three per cent to this and offer mortgages at 11.5 per cent. But that is not the case today as the average mortgage rate is 18 per cent, giving a 9.5 per cent margin. Read more

Simple ways to keep warm this season

With the cold biting in this part of Africa known for its all year-round tropical weather, it is time to redecorate your rooms with items that will warm up your living space. Below are some ideas of warming up your space without necessarily lighting the fireplace or using a heater. Read more

Murang'a County and bank to build Sh1b hostels

Murang’a County has entered into a partnership with a local bank to set up hostels at a cost of Sh1 billion to accommodate students. The project will see over 3,000 hostels that can accommodate over 10,000 students of Murang’a University College put up by Murang’a County in conjunction with Jamii Bora Bank. Read more

Alexander Forbes moves into real estate

Financial services firm Alexander Forbes plans to develop a real estate project as it looks to reduce dependence on equities. The fund manager plans to build 211 maisonettes in Kitengela, some 30km out of Nairobi, which it will sell to its members at concessionary mortgage rates, having already stuck a deal with a strategic partner. Read more

Swazuri to repossess land grabbed in Moi era

The National Land Commission has started repossessing grabbed plots acquired during the Moi era in an exercise that will affect Redeemed Gospel Church, Tena residents and multi-billion shilling South B land. Read more

Sh650m mall to give Limuru town a facelift

Limuru town is set to get its first mall after the completion of the construction of a new shopping mall in 14 months’ time. Limuru Mall, whose construction started last week after a groundbreaking ceremony and will sit on 2.8 acres, is being put up by Manguo Developers at a cost of Sh650 million. Read more

Without benchmarking, land reforms won’t go far

In the past two months, land issues have dominated discussions in public and private forums. Among the highlights of land matters during that period was the closure of national lands headquarters for 10 days, which reportedly resulted in one million files being recovered, referenced and filed accordingly. Read more

Nairobi City County opposes Government’s new construction levy

The Nairobi City County has objected to the national government’s 0.5 per cent levy on construction projects. In a letter addressed to Lands, Housing and Urban Development Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu and copied to Senator Abu Chiaba, Chairperson Senate Committee on Energy, Roads and Transport and Maina Kamanda, Chairperson Transport, Public Works and Housing Committee, Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero said the regulations were quietly prepared without consultations with the county governments. Read more

Building technologies Africa likes to forget

The traditional African granary remains a valuable facility today for storage and preservation of dried food crops in healthy conditions for human consumption. Made using simple indigenous handcraft technology, the granary is one of the most common structures found in rural households. This structure is regarded by majority of peasant farmers as a useful, affordable store (silo) where to bank food produce for a rainy day. Read more

Solar revolution is here

Energy! It is a major determinant of the price of much everything. The most successful countries are those that have been able to bring the costs of energy to as low as possible. In Kenya, energy costs just can’t seem to stop rising. In fact, as soon as next month, the tariffs are expected to go higher when the upward revision is effected, something that’s bound to hurt every other sector in one way or the other. “If you put up a large scale steel production firm here, then you will not be able to compete with anyone because the cost of production will have been pushed up so much by electricity costs that the end product will be unaffordable,” Read more


Lakeside city gets modern malls

The central business district of Kisumu City is changing fast, with new modern shopping malls and business hubs opening up even as old hotels renovate their premises to keep pace with new hotels. As opposed to real estate developments that have seen investors jostle for suburbs such as Migosi, Kenya Re and, Milimani and Mamboleo estates for rental housing, the new craze is construction of holiday homes, hotels and shopping malls. Until now, the city has had few shopping malls within the central business district, a fact that has forced investors to clutter for the little space. Read more

Nairobi’s growth prospects dim, Accra top says new report

Despite being touted as a leading regional economic and social hub, it is emerging that Nairobi is lagging behind other African cities in terms of growth potential, at least according to the recently released Mastercard report. Read more

Choosing the right colour for your house

If you have never thought about it, observe how colour affects your mood. From the clothes you wear to the car you drive, to the paint colour on your office wall. A lot of purchasing decisions we make are based on colour preferences. Your living or working space is no exception. I once entered a gym with every intention of fulfilling my new year’s resolution to be healthier. Read more

Project construction costs explained

Sometime ago, there were rising cases of disputes between clients and consultants on what project costs to base and calculate their fees on. Clients and consultants always had a different opinion when it came to this total sum especially when a project was procured in various portions, hence increasing the ambiguity of the project cost. For those who may not know, consultants in the construction industry are paid a percentage of the total project fees. Read more

Spice up your décor with checks

If you have no checks in your house, then you could be missing out on a lot of excitement with visual patterns. Whether using the big buffalo checks or the smaller size gingham plaids, checks are a great way to uplift your décor to the next level. Read more

Where we lost the plot in architecture

With its unique skyline, Nairobi stands out as a magnificent “concrete beauty” in the region. A city cluttered with glass architectural imprints, which experts say are unsuitable for the local climate. Local architects are being accused of drawing building designs that have little or no consideration of the climate, in an era of environmentally friendly architecture. Read more

Property prices ‘steel’ on the rise

For the past several years, the figure of 250,000 housing stock shortage has been hogging our newspaper pages and TV screens. Despite all the efforts by the various parties involved in housing, the same figure remain very static, very unmoved. Many in the construction industry were hopeful that the Budget, read by Treasury Cabinet Secretary on Thursday last week would bring with it some relief, at least in the financing aspect in the industry. Read more

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