You need only to take stock of the rising number of global luxury brands splashing into Kenya to get a sense of the value of this market. Kenya is now home to the fourth highest number of dollar millionaires in Africa, according to the 2015 Knight Frank Wealth Report. Much like the ultra-wealthy elsewhere, property remains their investment of choice.
In the last few years there has been increasing interest in luxury property within Kenya. Property conceptualised, designed and built to world-class standards is now available here, and is seen as highly valuable. Indeed, in contrast to the declining prices of lower-end developments in Kenya, luxury home prices increased by 1.5% in the first quarter of 2016, according to the Knight Frank Prime Global Cities Index, representing the strongest growth in this sector since 2013.
But what sort of property in Kenya is catching the attention of the sophisticated tastes of those who could just as easily spend their dollars in the shiny streets of Dubai, London or Miami?
According to Johann De Wet, Managing Partner at Boogertman + Partners Architects Kenya, there is an interesting shift away from the previously coveted stately mansions on sprawling acres of land, which required imposing private security and an army of staff to maintain. Now, individuals are looking to upscale, sophisticated gated communities, where a single house can attract a price upwards of USD 1 million.
A case in point is Deerpark Villas in Karen, one of Johann’s new designs in Kenya, which he sees as Nairobi’s hottest upcoming luxury residential development, comparable to luxury properties around the world in terms of design and facilities. Johann sees the fusion of location, design and technology as the drivers of value in ‘homes of the future’.
“The location of Deerpark, in the Warai Forest area, lent us the unique privilege to design homes that have connectivity to the beautiful outdoors,” Johann explains. “Nairobi’s magnificent weather provided us the perfect opportunity to craft an environment for soaking in the natural splendour of this beautiful location. And the developer gave us a free hand to sculpture a contemporary design, an end-to-end home with wide open spaces, natural lighting, personal entertainment wings, a private gym and spa for every home, unlike the more standard concept of shared entertainment areas.”
Johann is clear about the aspirations of the new homeowners for whom price is not a barrier. They are interested in best practice sustainable green designs, top build quality and superior finishing, architecture that answers the expectations of high net worth individuals who demand a space that enhances their lifestyle: a modern home that offers the versatility of being able to lock up and go, that combines the serenity of the suburbs with amenities at their doorstep, privacy yet well thought-out shared spaces for children to play.
Johann is loving the transformation of Kenya’s real estate landscape, and with projects like Deerpark he sees the needs of the ambitious new home-owner being met right here in Kenya. Boogertman + Partner Architects are the award-winning firm behind Nelson Mandela’s family home and the Two Rivers Mall, as well as the Wangari Muta Maathai House, shortlisted for the 2016 World Architecture Festival Awards.
Deerpark Karen Villas is a prime example of the transformation that has taken place across Nairobi, where consumers are demanding the best of all worlds and are re-defining luxury living. With Kenya cementing its position as a regional hub, one would expect this demand for exclusive luxury developments to continue to rise.
Johann de Wet, Boogertman + Partners Architects