Going green gives Kenyan homes a premium price tag

The desire for green spaces has become more prevalent among homebuyers in recent years, as people become increasingly aware of the benefits of living in a natural environment. Properties that offer green spaces, such as backyards, parks, and gardens, are now more expensive due to the high demand for detached homes.

According to a 2020 report by the Architectural Association of Kenya (AAK), the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the trend of homebuyers seeking single-detached homes. This is because more families are settling down and working from home, and the need for a comfortable living space with greenery has become even more crucial.

The demand for green spaces is not just a fad but is driven by the awareness of the impact of global warming. Green spaces not only enhance the view of a property, but they also contribute to improving air quality, providing natural habitats for wildlife, and adding value to the property.

Potential homebuyers today are looking for well-maintained lawns and yards that require little maintenance. Mature plants and trees that have taken root are also highly desirable as they provide a sense of permanence and stability.

Living near a park or overlooking a lake or body of water is also highly desirable and can add as much as 20 percent to the property price. This is because such properties provide a serene environment, allowing residents to enjoy the calming effect of nature.


Picking your shrubs

While green spaces are highly desirable among homebuyers, it’s essential to be mindful of the type of shrubs and plants to be planted around the property. Mr Ogeto, an expert in property development, cautions against planting trees like gum trees, which have deep roots that can cause damage to building foundations.

Despite the high demand for green spaces among homebuyers, Sam Kariuki, CEO of Mivida Homes, points out that the cost of greening isn’t a significant factor in the pricing of properties. He notes that the more significant cost factor is the open land where green space has been left but not built on.

The value of green spaces lies in the environmental benefits and the aesthetic appeal they bring to a property. Therefore, the cost of greening is a necessary investment that adds value to the property in the long run.


Cost of Green Space

This consciousness is now more pronounced in the construction of office spaces to attract the environmentally-conscious segment of the market. Statista, a leading research company that specialises in market and consumer data, projects that Kenya’s urban population will reach 44 million people by 2050. With this realisation, real estate developers and the government are working on affordable housing projects to bridge the burgeoning housing gap.

The problem lies in increased construction sites in the cities shrinking green spaces at a fast rate. Kenya has slowly employed environmentally sustainable architecture in real estate development. This comes at a time when multinationals including big tech firms are investing in the country.

Several international brands have invested in innovation hubs, including Microsoft Africa, Development Centre, Visa’s innovation studio, Google’s Africa product development hub and Amazon Web’s AWS Local Zone Hubs, which have incorporated sustainability features.