Africa’s new favourite destination beckons all savvy investors | Everything Property

Africa’s new favourite destination beckons all savvy investors


Why Kenya’s idyllic east coast is becoming popular with international home buyers.


Why Kenya’s idyllic east coast is becoming popular with international home buyers.

Recently dubbed the promising “Singapore of Africa” in economic news headlines, Kenya has another ace up its sleeve – its idyllic east coast. Says Shaif Sharif, head of sales for Pam Golding Properties Kenya: “The east coast is already popular with Kenyan high net worth investors and leisure buyers, but it is now also attracting foreign buyers mainly from European countries such as Germany, France, Britain and Italy. However, it has exactly the kind of qualities and amenities which appeal to South Africans, and is easily accessible both logistically and from a foreign ownership perspective.”

Ticking all the boxes

Sharif highlights the area’s tranquillity and exceptional lifestyle qualities including pristine beaches, affordable living standards, easy access to amenities such as clean electric power, clean water, road infrastructure, attractive homes, and reliable and fast internet and mobile connection.

He says the Kenyan coastline is easily accessible for South Africans with flights into Jomo Kenyatta Airport approximately four hours from OR Tambo International Airport and six hours 45 minutes from Cape Town. From there affordable, about one-hour flights take you to one of the four airports along the coast – in Lamu, Malindi, Mombasa and Diani, with Moi International Airport in Mombasa being the largest in the region. There is also an airstrip in Vipingo, an up-and-coming area on the east coast.

Says Sharif: “The port city of Mombasa is well established as the second biggest city in Kenya, and the main gateway to East Africa. It is connected by railway and road network to the capital city of Nairobi. On the southern coast, Diani is smaller, but doesn’t lack any amenities, with power, water, internet and shopping centres readily available, and the same applies to Malindi to the north of Mombasa. Lamu is more of an island setting, with beach homes, and an old town area where the locals live. There are plenty of top, world-class restaurants and hotels along the Kenyan Coast.”

Foreign ownership made easy

Foreign ownership in Kenya is very straightforward – an advocate is required to facilitate the process, and it is on a leasehold basis, typically 100 years, with a nominal land rent tax payable. Kenya is also a stable country in political terms, and the cost of living is affordable, especially for foreigners coming in with a strong exchange rate to the local currency.

Adds Sharif: “For international buyers, it’s an ideal lock-up-and-go holiday home where they could spend several months a year, especially during winter in Europe. Others can buy a property as a permanent residence and enjoy a peaceful and culturally rich environment, with protected marine parks with abundant sea life to explore. One of the key attractions here is the relatively consistent weather, being on the equator, with warm ocean waters. The Kenyan coast is also shielded from the elements, so it doesn’t experience strong winds or unpleasant storms.”

A dream home at a dream price

Urvi Jethwa, coastal region manager for Pam Golding Properties Kenya says the east coast offers value for money for home buyers: “For example, a six-bedroom mansion is available from €1 million, while approximately €2.5 million can secure a dream property with magnificent views and high-end finishes right on the beach front.”

New developments have sprung up along the coast which are in the affordable range of around €90 000 for a three-bedroom cottage or bungalow in a gated estate. These properties attract younger buyers. Kilifi is another up-and-coming, burgeoning area where land is still affordably priced from €200 000 per acre for beachfront land, and from €30 000 upwards for an eighth of an acre.

“Perhaps surprisingly, residential properties along the east coast are less expensive than in the capital city of Nairobi, where prices have soared over the past year due to the population boom and lack of land for expansion. That said, the kind of properties and lifestyle which buyers along the coastline are seeking differs vastly from those purchasing in the city.”

Sound investment in an idyllic lifestyle

The east coast is renowned for its unspoiled beaches such as Diani; Bamburi inthe north, with its top-end beach hotels and restaurants; Watamu, with a marine park reserve; Silversands in Malindi and the beautiful beaches in Lamu.

Jethwa says investors on the east coast are mostly local high-net-worth buyers seeking a second holiday home that doubles up as an investment, with international purchasers mainly 50+ in age looking for a semi-retirement home, and/or leave to work in Europe or elsewhere for a few months of the year. Some international buyers have married locals and settled permanently along the Kenyan Coast.

Adds Jethwa: “For investors, there are sound returns to be had, with many properties dotted along the coastline achieving yields of about 10% per annum on short-term lets, with higher yields for very well-maintained, picturesque properties. While there is demand from international visitors, in the last decade has seen a major upsurge in demand from domestic tourists.”

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