Kenya’s Growth Agenda Lures Wealthy Into New Surge Of Home Investment

Knight Frank
[Photo/Knight Frank]

Kenya has emerged as a safe haven for its wealthiest investors, as the country’s growth lures funds back home amid world turmoil and post-Covid slowdowns, reported Knight Frank, as it unveiled its attitudes survey results in the Kenya edition of Knight Frank’s annual Wealth Report 2024.

The attitudes survey, which is based on responses from the private bankers and wealth advisors, found expectations of wealth growth among Kenyan High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs) remain strongly positive, with 62.5 percent anticipating wealth increases in 2024, and three-quarters expecting to maintain or increase their wealth, following from a shift in assets out of foreign markets and into expanded investments in Kenya.

According to the IMF, Kenya’s GDP is forecast to rise by 5 percent in 2024, compared with a global average of 3.1 percent and an average of 4.2 percent across the world’s developing and emerging economies.

“Kenya’s growth is bringing a resurgence in HNWIs buying Kenyan property. This includes second and third homes in addition to their commercial property investments. Wealthy investors have also taken a step back from foreign assets in favour of building bigger positions at home,” said Mark Dunford, CEO Knight Frank Kenya.

The survey found that HNWIs are now holding about 60 percent of their wealth in homes, with just under 30 percent buying a home in 2023, and around the same percentage planning to buy another home in 2024.

This has already brought a shift in the balance of ownership, with about 10 percent of Kenyan HNWIs now owning homes abroad, down from 14 percent at the beginning of 2023.

The shift in assets has also seen a drop in interest by HNWI’s in second passports, with almost a third of wealth managers reporting that none of their clients were now interested in another passport or citizenship, and another third reporting that fewer than 10 percent were.

In non-home property, while interest remained subdued in commercial property, HNWIs reported strong interest in investing in additional farmland, hotels & leisure, and private rented residential properties in 2024.

Investor interest in property investments other than homes

Hotels & leisure69.4
Private rented residential58.6
Student Housing52.7
Development land30.0
Data centres13.3
Real estate debt13.3

Such investments also coincide with a rise in attention to reducing carbon, with 60 percent of HMWIs now investing in renewable power sources, and around half investing in increased nature and biodiversity and seeking sustainable certification and energy efficiency ratings.

“This shift towards greater sustainability even echoed into Kenyan HNWI’s investments of passion, with a strong shift from cars to art, now favoured by over 70 percent of HNWIs as their top collectable,” said Boniface Abudho, Research Analyst, Knight Frank Africa.

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