BY VICTOR ADAR
It is a warm Friday morning and a battery of journalists are on transit to Kilifi from Nairobi on a Standard Gauge Railway train. It is 8:00 a.m. and it takes us exactly five hours to reach Mombasa terminus. Then we board a taxi to Vipingo Ridge situated in North Coast.
As you drive into Vipingo, you will notice sisal plantation on one side and a forest on the other. Besides sisal farming, fishing and tourism are the economic activities synonymous with the area.
The main aim of this trip was to go and see Pazuri, a homely development in Vipingo by Superior Homes Kenya. Silvano Inyangala who is the project manager of the company said that when complete, the development would comprise 372 units with a choice of three house types.
Two bedroomed goes for Sh12.98m, three for Sh16.98m and four bedroom houses at Sh20.98 million. In addition, buyers will have a chance to access amenities and services such as beach club, tennis court and horse stables at the popular Vipingo Ridge as part of the package.
“Before we started the project we did a feasibility study,” said Inyangala. “Generally there are no master planned estates in Mombasa and Pazuri will be the first in Kilifi. The uptake for homes is here but the supply for homes is what was missing so we moved in to fill in the gap.”
Mr Inyangala said that luxury homes in Kenya, in terms of uptake, might take a few years to pick up pace as it still remains a unique segment of the market. However, investing in Vipingo still makes sense.
Sitting on a 105 acre plot, Pazuri is expected to be a darling of many because of its proximity to not only Malindi highway, which is soon to be upgraded to a dual carriageway but also the SGR Mombasa terminus and Vipingo airstrip (five minutes away). Safarilink airline operates scheduled flights from Nairobi’s Wilson airport to Vipingo Ridge.
By mid-December 2019, the first 30 houses were ready for sale with additional five under construction, and the rest in pre-development stage – this is a selection of two bedroom bungalows, three bedroom bungalows as well as four-bedroom villa. They are spacious and designed with the climate at the coast in mind. Ceiling heights, for example, are quite high. Wide window and door openings too aid air circulation and keep temperatures down. Not to forget the perfect view of the ocean.
Presently, owners can use their homes as a permanent residence or rent them out to holidaymakers thereby generating multiple incomes from the units.
“It is an interesting period for us. The rooms are going for Sh5, 000 (bed and break fast), half board is Sh6, 000 and full board is Sh7, 000 per room per person. So we provide meals, bed and breakfast. We have a chef who does the meals,” said Inyangala.
There is no denying the fact that Kilifi County is first growing thus becoming a magnet to real estate top players. Another developer vying for a piece of the pie is Centum, the company behind Awali, a gated residential estate.
“A lot of developments are coming up here and we did not want to miss a chance. Our show houses are all ready and we’ve done marketing on various platforms and we expect a lot of influx. Everything is geared up and we really hope we will get to 2021 on a high note,” said Inyangala.
While it will take a while for companies and individuals in general to shake off coronavirus woes, Vipingo is still a place not to be ignored. We spent a few days there (as members of the fourth estate) and reality is that Pazuri is not hyped up and is simply a premier location especially for individuals who are ready to settle.
As the pandemic continues to rage on, a good number of once thriving businesses are on their knees. The big question is; how can companies turn around during these tough times?
Of course, many sectors of the economy including property market have received a thorough beating, in some ways. But with a coronavirus vaccine expected soon, buying power is expected to inch upwards. For now, developers are forced to either reduce their asking prices, or offer huge discounts. Times are rough.
“The demand for quality homes is pretty high but during this Covid-19 period business has been pretty low. We have months that people take homes in high number then we have days that are really down,” said Clive Ndege, a marketer based in Nairobi.