A few years ago, people in the Diaspora used to be targeted by briefcase Kenyan developers that would come promising people hope of investing in Kenya, and after pocketing millions of shillings, they would later fault in their promises and thereafter, causing a lot of untold suffering.
The Kenyan real estate Developers were not alone, for there were other Kenyan Developers based in America, who also joined the fray of psychosis cheating, and just like their counterpart in Kenya, conned many in the Diaspora.
One such crafty nefarious individual was a soft spoken U.S.A. based developer who in the year 2004, became more convincing than Rev Deke O’Malley of the 1970 movie “cotton comes to Harlem”.
The witty sly ambitious man could only be compared to Suraya, or the magician devious infamous priest of Ekezza Sacco, who recently conned Kenyans millions of Shillings.
John Paul, (no relation to pope) convinced many Kenyans in USA and UK Diaspora to join him in investing back home in Kenya and within no time all houses proposed had ready buyers that put the required initial deposit.
Unlike Rev. Deke who ripped off Harlem’s African-American population with dishonest claims to the effect that small donations would secure parcels of land in Africa, the US based developer, was giving hope to striving Diasporans to imagine that Ksh. 2.5 million was good enough to secure a posh place to call home.
The promise eventually was never fulfilled as the project stalled and thus making many Kenyans in the Diaspora to loose confidence in any Developer whether based in Kenya or abroad.……. It was just until recently that Kenyans resumed after some leading Real Estate companies once again made Kenyans to trust and gain confidence in them while waiting for results.
That is exactly what a few real Estate investment companies based in Kenya have exactly done and within a short period of time, they have somehow demonstrated their commitments in delivering what they promise. They now have managed to restore confidence to many people in the Diaspora, to tie the belief, the lost credence, and have the will to start investing again in Kenya.
In the year 2017 through 2018 and up to now, many Kenyans through trust have bought properties with the help of real estate companies who specialize in properties that give the buyer time to pay their units by installments during the construction phase. (which normally takes a year).
That alone, gives the buyer flexibility to achieve his or her goals as opposed to situations where there is a rush involving high bank interest loans, required to realize an investment through funding.
Such companies are celebrated both locally in Kenya, and globally, due to their commitment in fulfilling their promises and so far, many people that have bought properties in Kenya, have witnessed on time completion for the same.
Due to the efficiency in handling projects, the same real Estate companies, have received many awards for excellence. They therefore have saved many Kenyans the bother of doing costly due diligence and the many un-necessary trips involved while trying to close a deal.
There are yet others that choose to buy properties through other real Estate Developers who specialize in buying land for residential purposes and thereafter subdividing and selling prime residential lots that have a plan to build, provided by the company in order to maintain high standards.
Such companies have established themselves in the Diaspora especially in America, where their marketing strategies through social media and seminars, have boosted the companies to form mutual understanding with leading Diaspora organizations.
The promise of a transparent platform is essential, in an area where many in the Diaspora have lost money through deceitful businessmen. We can comfortably say that a few have managed to establish faith and confidence, to many that have bought properties through them.
Serious companies are now focusing on long-term profitability, while offering people in the Diaspora the opportunity to sell their individual properties in future with interests or build their dream home– THUS bringing liquidity to what used to be a low value piece of property in a remote area.
The demand of properties in Kenya is still as per the bulging demand curve and you find that, a majority of Kenyans in the Diaspora, are buying affordable houses with an exemption of a few that can afford expensive houses in posh areas.
IS THERE A POSSIBILITY THAT THE REAL ESTATE MARKET WILL CLASH
Kenya population is steadily rising at 2.52% (according to world bank demographic figures) but it may steady to 2.2 by the year 2030. The population increase is mostly in the sub-urban Cities not far from Nairobi and that is the same population that will later move to urban centers and thereafter affecting the housing sector.
The demand for middle income houses and low income is on the rise and the few developers doing it may not even be able to meet the high demand and therefore we certainly don’t envisage a bubble in real estate between now up to the year 2030 as the demand is more than supply. (Appx. 250,00 required).
The bubble bursts occurs when there is excessive and continuous stiff competition in putting up development that are outright bought even before completion commences due to high demand . Many developers then join the frenzy thinking that the demand will last forever and when the speed at which they are constructed (supply) overtakes the demand, far way above, then a drastic fall in prices occurs.
Some of the major factors that affect the real estate industry to slump are:
1. Bank Interest rates increase.
2. Drastic Tax reforms.
3. Increase in unregulated Housing Projects.
Kenya has somehow managed to control the four factors especially number three, with the establishment of NEEMA whose mandate is to control and ensure that all constructions in urban areas abide to the bye-laws and building codes in place.
WHY INVEST IN KENYA
Many Kenyans have realized that buying properties in America is not as profitable as buying a property in Kenya.
If you choose to buy land in America, it may take a long time or never for such property to attract any buyer but in Kenya, land immediately gains value and high demand once construction commences.
A case in point is where a group of Kenyan businessmen bought plots in Orlando Florida around 1998, and as of today, they are effortlessly trying to sell the same properties without success. If the same businessmen had bought properties using the same funds in Kenya, it would have by now appreciated tenfold.
The other reason is the fact that the America situation of expecting to own a house with a mortgage can end as a bad dream for one can eventually loose the same property at old age if there is no good income. Your children on the other hand, will certainly move out after completing school preferring to settle elsewhere and therefore, you cannot pass on the house to them. You will result to selling it at a throw away price.
All mortgage in America are based on a minimum of twenty years and in a changing world, a lot can happen in those twenty years.
There is a category of immigrants that strain so hard to complete a mortgage so that they can be free from paying rent, but the sad fact is that the same house, just like in Kenyan, will always have a landlord.
When one is paying the mortgage, the landlord becomes the bank, and after the mortgage, the landlord becomes the property tax and the home owners association, if one happen to live in an area where there are such parasites.
In most cases, the mortgage is over when one is not able to work anymore due to advanced age, and the home owner will only be depending on government pension which is not enough to pay the rates, to feed yourselves, and the nagging home owners association.
Pension spent in America cannot be sufficient and that is why many in the Diaspora are now buying houses in Kenya for retirement.
…Yes many have realized the dangers of just owning one mortgage house in America without a second source of income at old age, and are now investing back home as a second alternative just incase, life in America turns out shaky and unbearable.
The house in Kenya can be rented out and the proceeds can maintain a person at old age while in Kenya or in America.
Those that will decide to go back home will still be able to survive on the house rent and can opt to go back to the reserve areas to start getting old gracefully while passing time waiting for the final unavoidable end and thereafter, to eternally rest in peace not so far from where your ancestors are.(an African way of consolation after death)
According to data from NHC, Kenya requires 250,000 new houses by the year 2030 but as of today, the rate at which the houses are being constructed, may not be enough to meet the huge demand and hence, one cannot go wrong investing in real estate.
Therefore, Kenya is the place to focus on while working in America as there are so many uncertainties in properties in America as compared to Kenya.
Many Kenyans after getting laid off work, or when their business go bad result to returning home unprepared not knowing that lifestyles changed long time ago and one may not adapt to the then prevailing conditions.
By then, the experience in America will be too agonizing and may leave many completely desperate and unable to face the blink future due to its unpredictable nature. Many will then eventually returns home with a few mangled jeans, broke, and obviously expecting to face the ridicule covetous relatives that watch with aversion, their once glorified American hero suddenly becoming a bother, as he waste away.
The victims may never know the monster or the vampire that ate their much put effort in the shattered dream phase, and eventually forced them to return to mother Africa broke, and completely desperate while having lost reality. The relatives they would constantly send money to will only afford a welcome meal and after realizing that their once savior is broke, they will turn away never to come back again.
This can be avoided if one take less concentration on the blind optimistic timber house mortgage puzzle that can entirely tie one’s life in America and instead, invest back home.
Let no one cheat you as the most viable investment while being far away is in real estate as you don’t need anyone to manage your property unlike in business, where it may require you to be available all the time.
The other viable paper blotting investment is trading at NSE or even NYSE but you need a good broker in this area for proper advice, as it is also an area that have led many to their early grave.
Take the great opportunity now that we have some developers we can trust and get properties in Kenya without straining and without delay as property value keep appreciating with time. In Kenya and in most African countries, properties value are steeply rising and the same will continue until there is a major economic upheaval or major conflict, which we do not envisage in the near future.
Therefore, let us prepare while trusting in the lord to enable us to have a bright future and not to assume and take this world as just a passing meaningless destiny with no fixed abode, and eternity as death itself.
The bills mania nightmare and credit card illusionary lifestyle which sometimes make us not to think of the future, is a fluid chaotic necessity that can lead to a sad ending of loneliness and ineffable moments of doom and despair.
BUT When its all said and done, let us have FAITH while remembering the four words that give hope to the desperate souls. “His Grace is Sufficient”
Make that call and start your journey to invest towards your retirement home in Kenya and if you don’t live in it for long, it will still remind your generations, …the fruits of hard sweat you picked in America….Yes…. You cant go wrong!
We fail because we do not try!
KENYAN PARENTS IN USA
BOARD MEMBER CENTRAL ORGANIZATION FOR DIASPORA UNITY(CODU)