Kenya’s real estate sector is quickly becoming the country’s highest returning asset class, with average returns of 25.8% compared to other asset classes’ average returns of 12.3%, Reuben Kimani, CEO of property investment firm Username Investments, has said.
Kimani this week urged Kenya’s new Lands Cabinet Secretary, Farida Karoney, to hasten the reforms in the East African nation’s Lands Ministry.
The CEO, who was speaking at the open day for the company’s new project in Kenya’s Nakuru County, noted that it was possible for the country to have an efficient Lands Ministry, if it took the correct steps to mitigating the challenges that currently affected it.
“One of the most critical things that the Land CS can work towards is eliminating the cartels that have crippled operations in the Ministry over the years. Deeply entrenched vested interests have hampered the land reform process, as many want the past flawed land regime to continue, so that they keep benefiting from a non-streamlined land sector,” he said.
He also urged the new Cabinet Secretary to drive the implementation of a law known as the National Land Policy that was put in place by her predecessor, noting that it was the only way in which streamlined operations could be achieved in the Ministry.
“The National Land Policy was developed to provide a legal, administrative, institutional and technological framework for optimal utilization and production of land. This is a key document which the CS should implement in the shortest time in order to promote efficiency in matters land, namely access to land use information, equity, elimination of discrimination and public benefit sharing,” he noted.
The CEO also applauded the Government on its efforts towards title deed distribution in the country, noting that title deeds were a crucial document in economic empowerment.
“The Government did well in keeping its promise of issuing 3 million title deeds by August 2017. It was able to issue 2.4 million title deeds by the promised date, which translated to about 800,000 titles per year since 2013. This is no mean feat, if you consider that between 1956 and June 2013, only 5.6 million pieces were titled countrywide, which translated to about 112,000 titles a year,” he said.
Kimani also reassured investors that the real estate sector was bound to pick up in 2018. He added that it was the right time for investors to invest for long-term gains.
“The demand for real estate remains high, driven up by factors such as population growth, which is growing at 2.6% t, urbanization at 4.4% and the expansion of the middle class and businesses. This is an indication that the demand for real estate will remain strong and counteract any negative post-election effects. We are going to see not only the market experience increased investments and rolling out of projects, but also increased prices and sales of real estate,” he said.
His sentiments come at a time when his company has been able to conceptualize and complete 18 projects, with 13 of them being successfully sold out.