Cytonn, Finnish firm break ground for Sh1bn posh Karen homes

By: MOSES OMUSOLO

Investment firms Cytonn and Taaleritehdas of Finland have embarked on a Sh1 billion high-end residential development in Nairobi’s Karen suburb.

Located at the junction of Murichu and Forest Edge Roads, the Amara Ridge is touted to be an exclusive private gated community “close to everything in Karen and yet away from it all.”

Amara Ridge will comprise 10 five-bedroom houses selling at Sh95 million each with construction expected to be done over a two-year period.

The houses will be set on half-acre plots, each with its own with secondary gate, expansive garden and swimming pool.

Further, the detached houses will each come with a suite, study office, lounge with fireplace, dining room, fitted kitchen, entertainment room with fitted bar, family room with pantry, parking space for five, staff quarters for two, expansive terraces and gardens, BBQ area, among other facilities.

AMENITIES

“With the upcoming development of Africa’s largest convention centre at Bomas of Kenya which is located right opposite Amara Ridge, this location is destined to become one of Nairobi’s most prestigious neighbourhood offering Amara Ridge owners unmatched leasing or resale value on their property,” said Mr Edwin Dande, CEO Cytonn Investments.

Mr Dande added that the firm will in the coming six months flag off the development of Situ Village around Ololua Ridge in Karen as well as Alma Apartments in Ruaka.

Present during the groundbreaking ceremony were the Finnish Ambassador to Kenya Ms Tarja Fernandez and the Taaleritehdas Private Equity Funds real estate director Mr Antti-Jusi Ahveninen.

The Amara Ridge property is partly funded by the private equity firm Taaleritehdas.

HOUSING MARKET

The Cytonn investment comes in the midst of revelation by analysts that the increased Central Bank Rate may negatively affect housing prices throughout the year up to June next year.

“The rise in property sales prices had been slow overall in the previous quarter of this year – depressed by a 1.6 per cent drop in asking prices for detached houses – to generate an overall fall of 0.4 per cent across the property market in second half,” said head of research and marketing at Hass Consult Ms Sakina Hassanali in a report released in July.

Ms Hassanali added that landlords are currently earning over 23 per cent returns annually on let apartments, which is the highest in the category since August 2009.

Moreover, despite asking prices rose 2.2 per cent in all properties in the second quarter with semi-detached houses and apartments recording the highest sales increase, by 4.8 per cent and 5.1 per cent respectively.

“Owners of semi-detached houses continue to earn the highest rental yields, capped at 7.96 per cent by the end of June 2015,” she said.

CYTONN INVESTMENTS

Cytonn chief investment officer and head of real estate Elizabeth Nkukuu said the firm’s strategy covers all segments in the real estate market, with low-end property taking the highest percentage.

“Our deal pipeline serves the various segments of the market ranging from the high-end such as the Amara Ridge, and the middle to lower-middle income which constitutes 85 per cent of our projects,” she said.

The project is partly funded by private equity firm Taaleritehdas to the tune of Sh600 million.