The market is coming to life with the idea of purchasing small plots of land. To be able to increase the sales, the real estate marketers have come up with the idea of breaking down plots of land to “chewable sizes”. Yes, they are affordable but are they idea for you. Is this what you should be considering when you want to invest? Is 50 by 100 plots a good investment decision?

50 by 100 plots is the 1/8th of an acre. This stands for 50 feet by a hundred feet slightly plots, very commonly advertised. Many people like to invest in those and we will be sharing our views professionally based on our experience on whether or not that is a good size to buy.

I will hit the nail on the head and say it straight. It is not the best advice to go and buy 50 by 100 plots.  We have very specific reasons on why to and why not go on these small pieces of land.

Let me just go back to a historical context on 50 by 100 acre so because you will hear people advertising 50 100-acre plots all over the country. Whether is Utawala, Kitengela, Juja, Thika, Machakos, Amboseli area, Nanyuki, Isiolo, Meru, Lumuruti, Nyahururu and so many more.

It is a very common size of land or plots for people to buy because that is what people find affordable. it’s a nice decent size, you could fit a single-family dwelling on it, you can certainly fit a multi-story commercial block on one.

So it rather makes sense right? However, so here is the thing. Originally, if you are going to have anything size lower than an acre in general and this is not set in stone, it is a general policy if you have any parcel of land smaller than an acre in size it cannot be zoned agricultural. Unless you make specific interventions to justify its agricultural use. Therefore, in densely populated parts of the country where you have large communities with a little land resource to share it is not unusual to find people sitting on one eight-acre or 50 by 100-foot plots. Because that is all they have to work with and they do farm on it and it is generally treated as farmland or agricultural land.

You will hear many people advertising 50 by 100 plots with greenhouses. It is a new trend I am sure you have noticed you know that in the media in general, it makes sense. It sounds great in, that you could buy a 50 foot by 100-foot plot with a greenhouse that will earn you revenue while you sit on the land.

However, you need to investigate and make sure that whoever selling is a parcel of land has done what they need to do for it to be used in that particular way. In the size that it exists because it is being used for agricultural purposes, is it residential, is it a residential plot, and is it commercial? Whatever the answer may be what the due process is followed to the latter to make sure that your security as far as the ownership and they use is concerned.

Therefore, you have to know what to look out for. I’m not saying that it’s illegal I’m just saying that in general, it is an unusual thing to find plots of land 50 by 100 foot that are being used agriculturally. In far-flung parts of the country with no utilities historically and you look at places like Langata, South C, South B, Buruburu, Dholnhom, all these parts of Nairobi where you have densely populated residential developments or some may consider those to be medium density as opposed to high density.

Typically, a maisonette or bungalow would be sitting on either an eighth of an acre or a sixteenth of an acre. In some cases, its one-third of an acre so initially, the only way for these places to come up and exist is that the developer or the person who developed the estate bought the land from whomever whether it was the government of or a private entity. They bought the land. It was a big chunk they wanted to do an estate residential development for people to live in and obviously, they wanted these to be affordable that’s how places like Langata, Buruburu, South C. that’s where we’re all these places came from and that was the thinking behind them.

Typically, these were Indian or Asian descent. Kenyans who were very big in the development of these communities. They would buy the land to engage the services of an architect who would design this estate and make space for the utilities. Whether it’s Road walkways electricity sewer and so on. They would then provide the planners to the authorities the local government authority and tell them, this is what we want to do.

Would you please provide the utilities and the government would then come in and do the roads provide water to do the sewer system and plug these into the larger infrastructural? Interventions that were being handled by the government because these are a very expensive thing to provide. They are essentially a subsidized service by a government authority to the citizens of an area. Because, if a developer has to do that, as is happening a lot in high-end developments these days, they have to pass on that cost to you as a consumer.

If they do, all of a sudden the eighth that you are buying will cost somewhere around fifteen-twenty twenty-five million as we have seen in some developments in Campbell. One comes to mind for me is Migaa where they are selling 1/8 plots for somewhere around 20 million shillings. Why would they do that in a place that is a bit far from Nairobi? Because they have had to make those interventions themselves, they have had to do the roads provide, water connects the power what is on the sewer system. These are very expensive infrastructural projects to undertake and if they’re going to be viable they have to pass on the cost to the consumer or the end buyer. So that’s how this place came up Buruburu, Langata as I mentioned and this is why these sizes came to be so fast forward to today.

Where you know companies like ours will advertise 55 by 100 plots. They are very often in rural parts of Kenya or undeveloped parts of the country where there are no utilities whatsoever. The most you will do is maybe grade the road so that you have accessibility and sink a borehole.

I would advise you to ask yourself this, you know if you are going to buy an eighth of an acre for whatever amount of money whether it is fifty thousand bucks whether its a million shillings or whatever the case may be. What is the real value to you what are you really getting if you are going to? I think if you’re going to buy an eighth of an acre because that’s the size a lot of our customers sometimes ask us about why don’t you sell us an eighth of an acre. Why are you only offering us half acres or one acre and my answer is always the same because it will cost excessively much money for us to service or provide the utilities, to get the proper approvals for the one-eighth of an acre plot? Because you have to change use from agricultural freehold to residential or commercial, leasehold that is a legal process. if someone is purporting to sell you that ask them for proof that if all of the due processes so that you make sure you’re buying something that’s giving you value for your money and something that you’re going to be able to use in the future. For the intended use or for the promise that is being made.

Investigate; ask questions am I really getting value? If you are going to buy land in a Nanyuki for example and it is 50 by 100. Where on a clear day, you can look all the way into Nyeri County and in some cases on very clear days you can see the Samburu hills. What on

Earth going to do with 1/8 of an acre in Nanyuki it has complete utilities. It has roads, it has sewer, it has water, it has power and this is sorted out in advance so that all that is left for you to do is build your house in a controlled manner.

 

Even then, who is my neighbour, are they going to put up a pig farm or a poultry farm? Which again is not supposed to happen if they do it properly and kill my value? If I wanted to retire there is that the kind of environment I really want to retire to. If I am looking for a getaway, for example, do I really want to feel like I am in South C or South B on a weekend that I want to unwind and go off to my property in Nanyuki or Naivasha or any other place?

 

So ask questions to think about what you are doing think about what value you are getting. Interrogate ask for proof do your due diligence. Do not be lazy about it just, because my brother or my neighbour or my workmate did it, does not mean I should.  You need to do it for the right reasons so you know that that would be my take as far as what the ideal size is specifically in regards to 50 by 100-foot plots or 1/8.

Cheap is expensive, you find in most cases, people are buying these plots of land for speculation purposes only. There may come a point where this does not make sense when everyone is holding a plot just for speculation.

Given that there is no official and strategic planning done, the places when developed will probably turn to slums. The places you expect to be a home away from home will be less attractive than the urban areas. At least in town, you can get Morden developments.