The World Bank Report , Kenya Urbanization Review, of February of 2016; details the “before, now and future” of real estate investments in Kenya. Two pronouncements within the report sum up best why investments in Kenya’s real estate are set to undergo a paradigm shift: devolution, and rapid urbanization. We believe that these expert predictions will particularly hold for real estate investment in Bungoma County.
Why you should consider investing in real estate in Bungoma
Bungoma is strategically located along A104 and C33 roads which connects the town to local
and regional areas. Bungoma Municipality is a well-established urban centre and currently serves
as the headquarters of Bungoma County
Explore the many things to do in Bungoma from the majestic Mt. Elgon to experiencing the local culture with cultural visits. Plan your trip to Western Kenya now and make the most of your visit to Bungoma
Have you tried the Bustling Bungoma experience?
Why is Real Estate Attractive in Bungoma?
The World Bank states that :
Kenya is urbanizing rapidly but is under-urbanized, meaning that it still can leverage the benefits of urbanization and attain its goal of becoming an upper middle-income country by 2030
World Bank Report, Kenya Urbanization Review
It then adds that :
Fortunately, Kenya is at an early stage of urbanization, but by 2050 about half of the population will be living in cities
World Bank Report, Kenya Urbanization Review
Ways to get involved
There are two ways that one can get involved in Bungoma’s real estate sector. They are:
- Buying of land for speculation, agricultural, residential or commercial use.
- Development of land
Join us as we explore this highly lucrative and relatively nascent real estate market.
Tips on buying land in Bungoma County
While still urging further action, the World Bank report paints strands of various reforms in Kenya’s land system that set a base for Kenya’s urbanization in the 21st century. Whilst Bungoma County is traditionally devoid of the land problems of the Coast, two regions had lagged behind: Bumula constituency and Mt. Elgon constituency.
For varied reasons beyond the scope of this article, the land system in these areas had remained archaic thus occasioning poverty and ethnic wars respectively. But that was before the Messers. Hon. Wakoli Bifwoli and Hon. Fred Kapondi whose efforts led to their constituents deriving value from their land.
During the terms as MPs for these regions, these Honorable members in concert with the National Government led various forms of land adjudication measures — such as issuance of title deeds to peasant farmers — which unlocked the true value of land. As a result, it is safe to label land in Bungoma as safe. Nonetheless, a few pointers:
- Purchasing land: Most of the land in Bungoma County is still held as ancestral. Therefore, land transfer usually follows feudal patterns. Nonetheless, with the correct contacts, bargains for land for real estate investment in Bungoma County isn’t a mirage. As it stands, the more prevalent reasons for disposal of land in Bungoma are: hospital bills, school fees and division of estate of deceased to beneficiaries. It would therefore help if you find an estate agent with deep local roots.
- Land tenure system: Throughout Bungoma county, as is the situation with most of Western Kenya, land titles are still in the names of patriarchs – dead or alive. When purchasing land for real estate investment in Bungoma, ensure that you involve the local land board to navigate issues of land succession. A friend recently put me into stitches with a tale of the tragic comedy of the demise of his real estate venture somewhere in Bungoma. He had bought a piece of land in Kabula, Bumula Sub-County, Bungoma county from a family and started developing it. Only for a son of the home to emerge later in protest. He was admonished that his family could ‘sell his mothers grave’. My buddy considers himself streetwise. So with his ujanja, he quickly planted trees on the piece of land as a ploy to knock the exuberant lad off his trail. After successive battles of planting and replanting – following vandalism of his small forest – the young lad came to my friend in truce : an offer. This sumba wanted to purchase back his mother’s grave. Sounds like a plan. Doesn’t it ? Only that the grave lay smack in the middle of the farm! The young lad wanted just the 1/8 th where his dear mum lay and a road to be carved out!
- Agricultural vs. Commercial: Closer to town, especially along the major roads, most of the land in Bungoma county is packaged as commercial. As a result, realtors have placed a hefty price tag on them. However, depending on your goals in real estate investment in Bungoma county, real gems can be found within the 35Kms radius of the Northern Corridor as prescribed by the World Bank report. These are pieces in their acres, still characterized as agricultural land, and available at affordable prices .
Commercial Vs . Residential Rental Property in Bungoma
Kanduyi area, affectionately refereed to by locals as DY, is the burgeoning commercial capital of Bungoma county. It is almost impossible to find a front row plot for commercial real estate investment in Bungoma County in this locality.
It is rumored that most of this land is in the hands of local politicians, politician wannabes and elite non-locals. The first two are often tempted by the latter to sell during political campaigns as they raise funds in search of bubwami. Even so, it is a close knit community as deeds are traded back and forth among themselves like a game of Monopoly.
Kanduyi, The Realtors Heaven
Kanduyi’s attraction lies in it being the last major stop on the Northern Corridor as you head to Malaba in Busia. Moreover, just within earshot is the rapidly expanding ,recently chartered, Kibabii University. It is worth a try for real estate investors keen on the hostel business for university students.
Thanks to the astronomical rise of Kanduyi, Sikata in the neighborhood stakes claim as the premier residential area of Bungoma’s expanding middle class. Land (0.05 ha) that in the 2010’s was going for Ksh. 400,000 in the less affluent, more rural parts of Sikata is now (as at May 2022) hovering at about Ksh. 1, 500,000.
However, the heard mentality that has occasioned this trooping of prospective investors in the real estate sector of Bungoma County has opened up other hitherto inaccessible parts. Areas like Bungoma’s CBD are open for investment as developed commercial land there becomes relatively cheaper when compared with Kanduyi.
Looking to construct in Bungoma? Tips to get you started
Be warned, the days of waking up in the bundu and constructing as you pleased are gone. It being that license, inspection and rates are an important source of revenue for county governments, enforcement action on illegal buildings that come up with no approvals is swift as it is painful. Therefore, get your approvals from the County government and National Environment Management Authority for peace of mind.
Choice of Building material
Constructing in Bungoma, like the rest of Mulembe Nation, means that your choice materials is likely to be concrete blocks or baked clay bricks. Anyone set on executing a real estate investment in Bungoma County whose fixation is on bush stone should be prepared to meet extra costs.
This is because bush stone may need to be sourced from as far as Elgeyo Marakwet County. It follows too that ballast is likely to be of the off white color, larger gauge variety.
The market preferred grey colored, standard sized ballast may need to be sourced from as far as Eldoret town of Uasin Gishu County. Depending on the season, the cost of sand per truck load will differ. It will be cheaper to procure sand during the rainy seasons than during the dry seasons in Bungoma