High-end areas have most expensive land for residential use
Nairobi’s high-end neighbourhoods such as Runda, Ridgeways, Muthaiga and Karen have Kenya’s most expensive land for residential use. They have strict zoning controls and it’s common to find only one stand-alone house on a half-acre plot, with the remainder covered by greenery and trees. These high-end neighbourhoods also have very strong and active resident associations that make sure zoning regulations are not violated, and that amenities such as infrastructure and security are available.
In Muthaiga, a super prime area for residential purposes, for instance, the minimum sub-division of land allowed by the City Council of Nairobi is half an acre. The neighbourhood has the prestigious Muthaiga Golf Club and is home to several embassies and expatriate residences. Land for sale is scarce in Old Muthaiga and when it’s available, such as in New Muthaiga (Muthaiga North), prices are steeply high.
In Ridgeways, another up-market residential area in Kiambu County, an acre of land is currently priced at Sh15-20 million yet only recently in 2009 did it cost Sh10-12 million. Here you may find a few parcels available on sale. Suraya Developers recently put up a residential development in Kigwa Estate in Ridgeways for sale. Another major land owner in Ridgeways is Windsor Golf and Country Club.
Land in Runda, a top-end residential neighbourhood popular with Kenya’s rich club, has continued to rise in value astronomically. In 2004, an acre of prime land in Runda sold for Sh3 million, but the same currently costs in the upwards of Sh25 million. Land along the main Ruaka Drive near the US Embassy and UN headquarters in Gigiri has already crossed the Sh30 million-mark per acre.
You may still find land for purchase in Runda at the moment since the expansive area extends to Kiambu and Ruaka towns. Paradise Lost, a camping site at the edge of Runda, extends the neighbourhood into the Kiambu side. Karen has remained a prime residential area in Nairobi since when Baroness Karen Blixen settled here, from whom the area is named after. Karen has quite a number of residents of British origin. The Catholic Church is also a major land owner in the area.
The most prime part of Karen is the area near the Karen Golf Club. Notable large land owners are Catholic institutions such as Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA), Resurrection Garden and Marist Centre.
In 2004, the price of an acre opposite Karen Golf Club, the late Apollo Njonjo’s land, was Sh4 million. The current price has shot up to more than Sh23 million for the same piece of land. At Kuwinda, a large slum in the heart of the Karen neighbourhood, an acre costs Sh15 million and above. Land is slightly cheaper in newer extensions to Karen such as towards Shade Hotel Ngong (Kerarapon).
Arch. Gichuhi is the lead consultant at A4architect. Email: email@example.com