Kenyan women are fast emerging as the biggest investors in mid-market real estate, with 62 percent of property purchases at Eastlands development Casa Mia in Nairobi having been made by female buyers, echoing a trend that has seen women rising globally as property investors since the late 1990s.
A study by the National Association of Realtors in the US found the share of house-buying made by single women rose from 14 percent in 1995 to 21 percent by 2009, with single woman making up an even larger share of first-time buying, accounting for a quarter of purchases.
Further reporting by Alpha G Corp, a real estate company in India, found around 30 percent of the property buyers in Indian urban areas were now women, with the figure expected to rise further.
However, Africa appears to be running ahead of the global trend. In South Africa, Standard Bank found female buyers of residential property rose from 28 percent of all buyers to 37 percent, between 2000 and 2005.
But Kenya’s mid-market is now displaying some of the highest proportions of purchasing by single women across all real estate, with sales in the first two courts of Casa Mia dominated by single women buyers.
“Female buyers are emerging in quite extraordinary numbers in this property class. Most have done their research, and know exactly the kind of house they would like to invest in,” said Sakina Hassanali, Marketing Manager Hass Consult.
This rising trend comes as women’s socio-economic status continues to rise in Kenya, with the Institute of Economic Affairs showing that women now run 54 per cent of the country’s enterprises, while the number of career women is also rising.
Real estate is drawing female investors because they see it as a safe investment. in the UK, the Post Office Mortgage Report found that 41 per cent of women buying houses preferred mortgages to rent because they felt it was “better value for their money”
“Even with the high interest rates, real estate provides investment security as property, unlike stocks, doesn’t lose value overnight,” said Ms Hassanali.
Say buyers at Casa Mia: “I had been looking for a house for the last one year. When I saw Casa Mia, apart from the design, what I noted was that it was secure and spacious with a garden for my son to play,” said Jane Wambui.
“I wanted something in a beautiful environment that is not congested and is convenient. I went to a few places before a friend finally referred me to Casa Mia,” said Hellen Gathoni.
Casa Mia is a mid-income property development, with homes designed for upcoming professionals with young families seeking a first home in a beautiful environment that their children can grow up in, at a viable entry price of Sh5.25 million ($62, 388), and with properties expected to be worth 30 percent more within one-and-a-half years.
The development is set 15 minutes from the Kangundo Road junction with the Eastern Bypass, within 45 minutes of CBD and less than 30 minutes from Jomo Kenyatta Airport. Each 3 bedroom house measures 915 sq. ft. and is built on approximately 1/12th of acre.