Real estate investors shun Wundanyi town
Lack of land for expansion is stifling real estate development in Wundanyi township, costing the former Taita Taveta District headquarters potential investments. The stagnated property market has as a result seen dwindling supply of decent housing as developers shy away. Rental prices have subsequently shot up as renters compete for the few available units, and now a housing crisis of sorts is impending in the town.
Taita Taveta County Council town clerk Michael Njogu said the local authority lacks land for the town’s growth and only the local land owners would salvage it from further stagnation by selling to willing property developers. The local authority now plans to spend Sh9 million in the financial year 2012/13 budget to expand its lodges and build new guest houses and rental units. “We shall spend Sh1 million for extension of council lodges and another Sh5 million will be spent on construction of a guest house in Mwatate,” said Njogu.
The remaining Sh3 million allocated in the budget will be channelled into construction of rental houses in Wundanyi town. The local authority’s existing Mbela housing estate in Wundanyi has been unable to keep up with an increasing demand for rentals as the town’s population has grown in the recent past. Civil servants working in Wundanyi are forced to commute from as far as Mwatate or Voi where they can secure accommodation.
Investors who put their money in the town’s real estate market decades ago say the problem lies with the local authority’s poor planning that failed to anticipate future expansion. Land owners adjacent to Wundanyi town are largely peasant farmers practising small scale agricultural activities.
The town has also experienced grabbing of public land in the past by politically influential individuals. A case at hand is a plot of land in the heart of the town which cannot be developed owing to continued ownership wrangles over it. Potential investors have made suggestions that the county council may have to acquire land in adjacent neighbourhoods to inject impetus for new developments.