Kisumu road projects spur property market
Previously abandoned as a den of criminals and other social misfits, the 13-kilometre stretch that links some Kisumu residential neighbourhoods to Nairobi road is now awash with new housing projects. The value of land in the once swampy Gesoko area has shot up as Chinese contractors begin the by-pass project, where land buyers are now flocking.
Several feeder roads and by-passes will be built in Kisumu at an estimated cost of Sh5.7 billion. The scope of work for the projects includes rehabilitation of Kisumu town roads, a dual carriageway from Nyamasaria to Ondiek junction succeeded by another dual carriageway to the A1B1 junction. The Kisumu Southern by-pass starts at Nyamasaria to Kondele (3.3Km) single carriageway. Then from Otieno Oyoo junction to Obote road, a single carriageway will be constructed. At the end of Oginga Odinga Street to the start of Busia road at the Kisumu Cotton Mills (Kicomi), there will be another 1.5Km dual carriageway.
At Busia road to the end of Obote road there will be a dual carriageway of 3.4Km to the junction of New Kisumu International Airport. These developments have sparked construction projects in adjacent areas as land owners begin to unlock value driven by demand. A rising number of investors are paying a fortune to own a piece of such areas.
Kisumu-based real estate consultant Habil Odundo says most of the investors are showing keen interest in areas along the 13Km stretch bordering the once sleepy areas of Manyatta and Gesoko, inhabited by peri-urban low income earners. “Demand for land in the area has been associated to its direct link to the airport which is less than 10 minutes drive from the Nyamasaria junction,” said Odundo.
He said the area hardly attracted investors in the past due to its association with criminal gangs and bad roads, but the by-passes have injected excitement. “Real estate prices stayed low because this area was difficult to access. In fact prices here were as low as a sixth of what you would pay in other areas but is fast catching up with the rest of the city,” said Odundo.
Kisumu mayor Sam Okello says the local authority is now receiving applications for building plans for this area. “Before, we could hardly see anybody enquiring about housing plans for this area but the recent events symbolise change and desire by people to invest here,” said Okello. A group of wealthy Asians are among investors eyeing to put up a shopping mall along the stretch. “We are already seeing more sales activity along this corridor. A whole new market is emerging,” said Okello. The roads project, aimed at decongesting Kisumu and enhancing movement to the newly upgraded airport, is funded by the World Bank.