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Foreign property developers hunting for wealthy buyers from Kenya

by Bedah Mengo NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- International property developers are increasingly finding Kenya a fertile hunting ground for wealthy buyers of their projects located in top cities.

The firms are pitching tent in the East African nation advertising the properties that include residential apartments and holding property clinics as they seek to woo buyers.

Deyaar, a Dubai-based company, is the latest firm to sell its new project in Kenya, targeting the super-rich with the luxurious property consisting of mainly residences.

Besides putting adverts in Kenyan newspapers for the 218 million U.S. dollars serviced apartments, the firm will also hold a one-day exhibition for potential buyers.

"With contemporary hotel apartments, elegant residential units and thoughtful amenities, this living address is the hallmark of the good life," said Deyaar of the property dubbed Atria, which would be completed in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Deyaar, however, is not the only Dubai property developer to seek rich buyers from Kenyans. Recently, Emaar Properties, another Dubai-based real estate firm, reached out to wealthy Kenyans with its 634,616 dollars one-bedroom units.

Other international property firms that have sought buyers in Kenya include Seer Acquisitions, a British firm which was selling residential properties and student accommodation facilities in central London.

Industry reports indicate that most of Kenya’s rich who buy properties abroad either have children studying there or are buying to let.

Analysts noted that the vibrant Kenya’s real estate sector, which has increased appetite for property acquisition, coupled with a growing class of high income and wealthy individuals is wooing the international firms.

"The kind of property developments going on in Kenya shows there are individuals and firms that have money to invest in projects such as that in Dubai.

"Foreign property developers have done market research and know this fact, that is why they are trooping here," said Antony Kuyo, a real-estate consultant with Avent Properties in Nairobi.

He noted that Dubai, a city in United Arab Emirates, is an attractive destination for many investors in Kenya because trade between the two nations remains vibrant.

However, according to Kuyo, there is a high chance that some of the buyers being sought may take the chance to launder dirty money.

"Corruption and drug trafficking being a major problem in Kenya, wealthy individuals with ill-gotten wealth can use such opportunity to clean their money by buying property in such addresses where it is difficult to track."

UAE was at one time Kenya’s top source of imports, with the latter importing goods worth up to 1 billion dollars annually. Imports are mostly made up of oil and petroleum products, with an estimated over 40,000 Kenyans working in the UAE.

Knight Frank’s Global Cities Index of 2016 notes that Dubai is a global commercial and tourist hub where demand for residential and office space remains high. Prime property prices in Dubai rise by up to 20 percent annually.




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