Investment, General Advice and Commentaries

Reasons Why Kenya Won’t Experience A Property Bubble Burst Soon

property bubble

The property bubble is a theory to put off new players in the property market

The discussion on the property bubble has been on since 1999. The story attracts a lot of media attention and is believed by many of those who have not invested in the property market yet. The discussions are mainly initiated by big players in Real estate. In the meantime the players move on and set up very big developments as the discussions continue to discourage the players and those individuals who believe in such stories from focusing on emerging opportunities in the industry.

The bubble burst story gives false hope to those who wait for properties to drop in price so they could buy at a lower price. In 1999 when discussions started, a plot in Syokimau was being sold at Kshs.70, 000 (50*100 plot). The same plot is now valued at close to Kshs.4 million. The bubble theory continues and my view is that it will not come till 100 years to come. My reasons for this are as follows;

  1. Kenya is a growing country with a population estimated at 47,000,000 and estimated to rise to 73,000,000 by the year 2030 -  These people require land to build their dream houses, houses to live in(whether rental or purchase) and commercial space to do business. The properties can only go up due to increase in demand for real estate.
  2. Very few mortgages - A property burst happens when citizens have borrowed right and left and at some point they have no money to repay the mortgages. In Kenya we only have 24,000 mortgages according to Central Bank of Kenya data 2016. This is 0.05% of Kenyan population. These are very few mortgages indeed.
  3. Growing incomes - Kenyans are entrepreneurial and this has led to the registration of 200,000 businesses according to Nairobi county records. More businesses are getting registered across the country. This means that they need offices, residential houses and demand is on the rise. This is the reason that the bubble theorists will wait for another 100yrs. It is estimated that demand of affordable homes will keep rising as the GDP is estimated at 6% in 2017.
  4. Diaspora inflow -  Kenya is attracting over 156 billion from Kenyans in diaspora. The figure could be only 25% as more money comes in through informal means. Most of the diaspora remittances go to the purchase of land, houses and real estate projects. This inflow will keep pushing the prices up.
  5. Infrastructure development and vision 2030 projects are pushing real estate to an all-time high - Kenyans are now able to live,work and do business in areas like Kitengela, Thika, Ngong and other areas. This means that the towns keep growing as all the amenities are locally available. A good example is Kitengela, where there are 14 banks, over 7 functional universities, hospitals and supermarkets among other many eateries. Those facilities push the prices of properties in these suburbs even higher as Kenyans are able to stay within the town (suburb) ecosystem. For instance in 1999 a plot in Kitengela town wasKshs. 350,000(50 by 100) while now in 2017 its retailing for around Kshs. 25,000,000. You move further 2 miles in Kitengela in 2010, an acre in Acacia area, where Optiven'sVictory Gardens Phase 3 is located was Kshs.900,000 and today its 10 million. This is about supply and demand as Kenya is small;we have only 143 million acres against a projected population of over 90 million people by the year 2050.
  6. Devolution - This has taken back to rural towns up to 350 billion per year . The staff movement to county government means that they need shopping centers, houses to live in and land to build on. The real estate in the counties is actually a bushfire and this will continue as the county government gets more funds and betterstructured as the public demand for more facilities.
  7. Inflow of expatriates - Kenya is a home to many nationalities. We have seen global firms open regional offices in Kenya as they target the African market. This inflow of experts has driven rental prices in the upper market to about Kshs. 300,000 per month. Kenya has been rated as the 4th most preferred country for high net worth global individuals. Others on the list were Dubai, Nigeria and South Africa. These experts are willing to pay a penthouse for Kshs. 90 Million with ease. That's why I say that the bubble theory is driven by those who do not want others to join the lucrative real estate business.
  8. Inflow of Foreign Direct Investment (F.D.I) -  Kenya has attracted massive funds from world over. We are rated top three in Africa and Middle East, with South Africa and Dubai being at the top of the list. In the year 2016, we had over 108 FDI projects. Some of these projects are pushing real estate to an all time high. Kenya recorded the fastest rise in FDI in Africa and Middle East according to Africa Development Bank report 2016. The projects are over Kshs.102 billion and provide new jobs for Kenyans. 84% of the projects are related to real estate. Once again where is the bubble?
  9. Global players entering property market in Kenya - Lately as Kenyans fear to invest, we have seen reports from Knight Frank Kenya indicating there is no property bubble and soon after we saw global real estate moguls entering Kenyan market. These include Palm Golding and Remax. We have also seen many Chinese, Turkish and American companies setting up base in Kenya to get a piece of the property cake. If there was an impending property burst, would these companies invest billions to set base in Kenya?

My advice is; invest now and drop all those desk research, media stories done by theorists or real estate owners who want to kill your investment vision. Remember 67% of Kenya is yet to be developed. We are operating at 13%. Real Estate is the real deal.

Written by George Wachiuri
Author entrepreneur and Philanthropist

How to start a business with Ksh.1000


Some say Ksh.1,000 is not enough to start any business in Kenya, but there are several businesses, which thrive in Kenya that started with such small investments. The following are businesses to start with Ksh 1,000 - Ksh 5,000 in Kenya

  1. Selling Vegetables
  2. Hawking
  3. Selling Mitumba(second hand) clothes
  4. Carwash business in small towns
  5. Shoe-shining business
  6. Photography
  7. Rearing chicken 'kienyeji'
  8. Mobile manicure/pedicure services

Businesses you can set up with Ksh.10,000 - Ksh 100,000 in Kenya

  1. Barber shop
  2. Salon
  3. Grocery
  4. Boutique in small towns like Bomet, Kitale,Voi and Isiolo
  5. Selling women'sclothing and accessories such as handbags7. Farming tomatoes, onions, pineapple, watermelon, maize and beans.
  6. Photocopy, scanning and printing business
  7. Investing in shares and bonds

Business you can set up with Ksh. 200,000 – Ksh.500,000

  1. Fast Food Restaurant
  2. A small pub
  3. Hotel
  4. Classy Barbershop
  5. Salon in high-end estates
  6. General shop
  7. Laundry business
  8. Car Wash in Nairobi
  9. M-Pesa Shop
  10. Banking agency
  11. Sale of motorcycle spare parts
  12. Cosmetics shop
  13. Audit firm in Nairobi

Business to set up with Ksh1 million to Ksh10 million in Kenya

  1. Electronics shop
  2. A pub in major cities in Kenya
  3. A restaurant in Nairobi CBD
  4. Fast Food restaurant in Nairobi CBD
  5. A jewelry shop
  6. Furniture-making business
  7. Large scale farming
  8. A school
  9. A Sacco
  10. Wines and spirits wholesale shop
  11. Bookshop
  12. Matatu (Public transport) business
  13. Motor vehicle spare parts business
  14. Chemist
  15. Security firm
  16. Recording studio

Business to set up in Kenya with over Ksh.10 million

  1. Building rental houses
  2. Real Estate firm
  3. Business of letting out earthmovers
  4. Bank -You need over Ksh.5 billion
  5. Stockbroker company
  6. Radio or TV station
  7. Supermarket
  8. Manufacturing industry
  9. Five Star Hotel
  10. ATM business

How to carry out due diligence on a real estate firm

real estate firm

I am George CEO Optiven Real Estate, I once lost Ksh.5 million shillings on a land transaction and it was one year of pain and stress. During that period, these are the lessons that I learnt that I would like to share with most of us who want to keep investing in real estate in a safe manner.

  1. Check whether the company is registered to conduct real estate business -  Feel free to ask for a registration certificate, as it's your right.
  2. Check how long the company has operated and whether it has been in business for a while - It's always advisable to trust companies that have been in business for over 5 years. Research shows that 75% of startups fail within 3 to 5 years. Be very keen on startups that promise to deals that appear too good to be true. As they say, when the deal is too good, think twice.
  3. Check who the directors of the business are and whether they are real and or alive - Look into their past records and carry out due diligence on them. You can know directors by asking for a copy of CR12. You can also Google the Directors to get more info on them.
  4. Ask the firm if they have a successful project and let them give proof of the same - Visit that project to ascertain the facts.
  5. Ask the competitors if they are aware of the real estate firm offering you a deal - Remember that hearing adverts from mainstream media does not mean that the company is authentic. Testimonials are not 100% proof of authenticity, nor isthe use of models or media personalities in the same.
  6. Check if they have a registered office, with staff and visit the office - This is not 100% proof but it helps.
  7. Insist on visiting the project site before committing your funds -  If in the Diaspora, send your representative or a lawyer.
  8. Always obey your gut feeling - Once again, obey your GUT feeling.
  9. Ask for the company profile and check the company structure.

Let's invest wisely and carefully.

8 Financial Tips for Young Adults


Unfortunately, personal finance has not yet become a required subject in high school or college/ University, so you might be fairly clueless about how to manage your money when you're out in the real world for the first time. To help you get started, we'll take a look at 8 of the most important things to understand about money if you want to live a comfortable and prosperous life.

Learn Self-Control
If you're lucky, your parents taught you this skill when you were a kid. If not, keep in mind that the sooner you learn the fine art of delaying gratification, the sooner you'll find it easy to keep your finances in order. Although you can effortlessly purchase an item on credit the minute you want it, it's better to wait until you've actually saved up the money.

If you make a habit of putting all your purchases on credit cards, regardless of whether you can pay your bill in full at the end of the month, you might still be paying for those items in 10 years. If you want to keep your credit cards for the convenience factor or the rewards they offer, make sure to always pay your balance in full when the bill arrives, and don't carry more cards than you can keep track of.

Take Control of Your Own Financial Future
If you don't learn to manage your own money, other people will find ways to (mis)manage it for you. Some of these people may be ill-intentioned, like unscrupulous commission-based financial planners.

Instead of relying on others for advice, take charge and read a few basic books on personal finance. Once you're armed with personal finance knowledge, don't let anyone catch you off guard - whether it's a significant other that slowly siphons your bank account or friends who want you to go out and blow tons of money with them every weekend. Understanding how money works is the first step toward making your money work for you.

Know Where Your Money Goes
Once you've gone through a few personal finance books, you'll realize how important it is to make sure your expenses aren't exceeding your income. The best way to do this is by budgeting. Once you see how your morning java adds up over the course of a month, you'll realize that making small, manageable changes in your everyday expenses can have just as big of an impact on your financial situation as getting a raise.

In addition, keeping your recurring monthly expenses as low as possible will also save you big bucks over time. If you don't waste your money on a posh apartment now, you might be able to afford a nice bungalow or a house before you know it. (Talk to an Optiven property advisor today and get info on how to start your steps to owning your dream home 0702831083)

Start an Emergency Fund
One of personal finance's oft-repeated mantras is "pay yourself first." No matter how much you owe in student loans or no matter how low your salary may seem, it's wise to find some amount - any amount - of money in your budget to save in an emergency fund every month.

Having money in savings to use for emergencies can really keep you out of trouble financially and help you sleep better at night. Also, if you get into the habit of saving money and treating it as a non-negotiable monthly "expense," pretty soon you'll have more than just emergency money saved up: you'll have retirement money, vacation money and even money for a home down payment.

Don't just sock away this money under your mattress; invest it wisely like putting it in land for example which appreciates over time (annual estimations of about 45% - 75% rise in value). Otherwise, inflation will erode the value of your savings.

Start Saving for Retirement Now
Just as you headed off to kindergarten with your parents' hope to prepare you for success in a world that seemed eons away, you need to prepare for your retirement well in advance. Because of the way compound interest works, the sooner you start saving, the less principal you'll have to invest to end up with the amount you need to retire and the sooner you'll be able to call working an "option" rather than a "necessity."

Get a Grip on Taxes
It's important to understand how income taxes work even before you get your first paycheck. When a company offers you a starting salary, you need to know how to calculate whether that salary will give you enough money after taxes to meet your financial goals and obligations.

Guard Your Health
If meeting monthly health insurance premiums seems impossible, what will you do if you have to go to the emergency room, where a single visit for a minor injury like a broken bone can cost thousands of shillings? If you're uninsured, don't wait another day to apply for health insurance; it's easier than you think to wind up in a car accident or trip down the stairs.

You can save money by getting quotes from different insurance providers to find the lowest rates. Also, by taking daily steps now to keep yourself healthy, like eating fruits and vegetables, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising, not smoking, not consuming alcohol in excess, and even driving defensively, you'll thank yourself down the road when you aren't paying exorbitant medical bills.

Guard Your Wealth
If you want to make sure that all of your hard-earned money doesn't vanish, you'll need to take steps to protect it. Disability-income insurance protects your greatest asset - the ability to earn an income - by providing you with a steady income if you ever become unable to work for an extended period of time due to illness or injury.

If you want help managing your money, find a fee-only financial planner to provide unbiased advice that's in your best interest, rather than a commission-based financial advisor, who earns money when you sign up with the investments his or her company backs. You'll also want to protect your money from taxes, which is easy to do with a retirement account, and inflation, which you can do by making sure that all of your money is earning interest through vehicles like high-interest savings accounts, money market funds, CDs, stocks, bonds and mutual funds.

The Bottom Line
Remember, you don't need any fancy degrees or special background to become an expert at managing your finances. If you use these 8 financial rules for your life, you can be as personally prosperous as the guy with the hard-won MBA.

How To Deal With Hunger In Kenya

drought in kenya

Kenya has been affected negatively by climate change. According to OCHA reports, 600,000 Kenyans faced food insecurity in 2014, 1.2 million in 2015 and 2.7 million in 2017. As a nation, we can do the following to mitigate against the drought.

  1. The National Drought Management Authority should work closely with stakeholders to educate the population on climate change and the need to take care of the environment. The authority should also push for more funds from the National and county governments to implement long lasting solutions such as water harvesting, educating the pastoralists on de-stocking when early drought warnings are noted.
  2. Conservation efforts: Every Kenyan must take it upon themselves to take care of the water towers including Cherangani Hills, Aberdares, Mt.Elgon, Mt.Kenya and the Mau complex. All Kenyans must avoid farming near the rivers, or settling near water catchment areas and conserve the little water we have.
  3. Encourage modern farming: Modern farming methods such as greenhouse farming go a long way in enhancing food security. Proper storage of food, including hay for livestock, is also key.
  4. Encourage investors who want to establish fattening lots, holding yards for pastoralists.
  5. The government should work closely with the private sector to transfer the Kenyan North to be an agricultural hub.

George Wachiuri CEO Optiven ltd
Author, Entrepreneur & Philanthropist.

Why Invest In Kajiado Town?


Kajiado town has been undergoing a property boom since 2011. Optiven real estate, a company that was awarded the overall winner and the best company in real estate 2014/2015 has been the leading developer in this county. The town is strategically located, with 10 banks and over 10 universities in the area. Additionally, there are a number of hotels being set up in the area.

Kajiado town is an explosive economic and real estate hub and this is evidenced by the residential and commercial development taking place in the area. A major contribution to Kajiado’s growth is population growth in Nairobi, which resulted in a need for housing as well as an industrial zone. The town’s proximity to Tanzania has also placed Kajiado at an advantage.

Kajiado benefits from the presence of huge factories that employ thousands of employees. The railway line passes at the heart of Kajiado town. The cost of materials for construction is affordable, making Kajiado Township a center of real estate development. Eden Gardens, a project of Optiven Ltd, is one the leading projects in the area. Other projects that Optiven has in the area are Glory Gardens, Tumaini Gardens, Dollar Point, Shekinah Gardens, Victory Gardens Phase 1, 2 and 3.

The Kajiado airstrip, which targets tourists headed to Amboseli and neighboring Kilimanjaro in Tanzania is also another aspect that makes Kitengela the place to be. This will open up the town more than ever before. Eden gardens is just a few kilometers from the proposed airport.

Investors are also attracted to Kajiado town because of the prevailing peace and co-existence of different communities. The town is 75 Km from Nairobi. The town’s growth is so fast that investors have seen their investments grow to millions in just five years. This trend is expected to continue for decades to come. A major contribution to Kajiado’s growth is population growth in Nairobi resulting to a need for housing as well as an industrial zone.

Optiven is among the real estate companies that have been at the forefront in matters development in the area. The company has drilled boreholes, developed roads, drifts, planted thousands of trees and helped thousands of Kenyans enjoy value added properties Kajiado town is the real city of the future. If you dream of being a part of it, the time is now.

To get more details on how you can invest with us Kindly talk to us via 0702 831083 , 0738 831083, Email; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Website:

This article is written by George Wachiuri, Entrepreneur, Author, Philanthropist, CEO Optiven Limited, Group Trustee Optiven Foundation

9 Challenges to worry about while investing in real estate in Kenya


The Real estate sector in Kenya is growing and many players are gearing up to expand, while others are out to venture into it , with hopes of a high rate of return on investment. As one prepares to venture into this sector, it's important to have the following information in mind:

  •  Escalating land prices: The price of land in Kenya is rising every day.This has led to developers putting up high-rise buildings to compensate for the cost of the land. A very good example is seen in Upper Hill, Nairobi, where an acre of land is Ksh. 0.6Billion and developers have resorted to building over 30 floored houses. For any profitable development, the price of land should ideally be between 15-20% of the cost of the project.
  • Inadequate Infrastructure: Kenya's infrastructure is concentrated on the capital city. A majority of the remaining 46 counties have poor infrastructure. It's thus important for the government to develop infrastructure or give incentives to private developers who develop their own infrastructure.
  • Unethical Practices: There have been allegations of collusion between developers, land dealers and government officials to produce fake titles. This has led to developers spending time in court to prove the authenticity of title deeds. Associations like Kenya Private Developers Association are working with the government to ensure digitization, adherence to ethical standards and accountability among the developers. The government is also seemingly doing its bit as the Ministry of Landsand the National Land Commission have fronted the digitization of the land registries in Kenya.
  • Inefficient land governing Institution: Land administration in Kenya has been in shambles for many years, until the new constitution was effected. 67% of Kenyan land is said to be untitled, with 33% with title deeds, but still in severe chaos. In 2016, the Ministry of Lands disbanded the local land boards allegedly famed for corrupt dealings and bureaucracy, replacing them with new ones. It's hoped that the new ones will be more efficient.
  • Bureaucracy: Buying property in Kenya takes a long period of time. One has to process a lot of documentation and the legal process is extremely long. A transaction that should ideally take only 14 to 30 days, could take one between 90-120 days. This process can be shortened, by making the whole process an online transaction. The government should also have a one-stop shop for property developers where all licenses and approvals can be issued. The county governments also pose a challenge to developers, as all manner of levies and taxes are charged to developers as they undertake value-addition. Fortunately, associations like Kenya Private Developers Association (KPDA) provide a forum for developers to engage the county governments.
  • Corruption: This is a leading issue that real estate developers grapple with. Developers at times find themselves dealing with corrupt officials at different levels and this poses a real threat to the sector. Steps by the government to digitize the land registryare expected to go along way towards reducing cases of corruption in these dealings.
  • Unclear planning and zoning: Developers don't seem to know which areas areset aside for industrial, residential or commercial purposes. This has resulted in areas that are primarily residential being used for other purposes. Meanwhile, facilities like roads, water and sewer systems are not being expanded to meet the needs.
  • Lack of incentives: The demand for housing in Kenya is over 200,000 housing units per year. Currently, only 40,000 housing units are developed a year. This is due to lack of government incentives to private developers. The government made an attempt at this by giving developers doing 1,000 units per year 10% corporate tax off. This later changed to 400 units. However, very few developers have the capacity to build 400 units within a year. The government should therefore consider lowering the number of units further to 50 units a year and give 20% off corporate tax.
  • Challenges of catering to low-income earners: The government hasn't sufficiently supported low-income earners. While government officials are able to access mortgages at rates as low as 3 %, no special provisions have been made for low-income earners. The government should therefore seriously consider offering low-income earners a 4% rate, to enable them access homes.

Thoughts generated by: George Wachiuri, Real Estate Mogul, Entrepreneur and CEO at Optiven Group (

Optiven woos Kenyans living in Canada to invest in Kenya


The investment opportunities for Kenyans in the diaspora are numerous, yet many are oblivious of these avenues where they can channel their funds for capital gain. Kenyans in the diaspora are often in need of information on key areas of investment that they can explore back home. It is with this in mind that Optiven visited Canada and the U.S to engage Kenyans that are keen on investing in Kenya.


How Chamas Can Invest Together


  1. Agree on the investment methodology, strategy and stick on it -  Do not change goal posts in the middle of the investment journey
  2. Appoint a good leadership they will guide the group - Let the leadership have a term limit and they should have well written and agreed target of achievement during their term . I suggest three years term limit and preferably renewable on performance basis
  3. Think Long term and Act long term - It's dangerous to think quick fixes and having a hype of quick money as Chamas is not a lottery group. Patience pays at all times
  4. Have a very good investment vision - This is  with good focus and a great investment partner who can advise you. I have personally found myself guiding hundreds of Chamas in Australia, Kenya , United Kingdom, United States of America and South Africa. I have done numerous teleconferencing and some of these Chamas are now millionaires through partnering with Optiven Ltd 
  5. Keep members updated on investment undertaken -  As a leadership keep the hopes of members high. I do not advocate keeping funds in the account. You could purchase properties on installments. I once saw a great offer with Optiven Group where Chamas we paying as little as usd 200 per member to acquire value added properties within Nairobi environs .

George C.E.O Optiven Group, Chairman & Trustee - Optiven Foundation, Author, Donor, Philanthropist, Entrepreneur, Church Elder & Family Man

The Power of Sharing – One Million Entrepreneurs by the Year 2035


Creating One Million Entrepreneurs by the year 2035 movement is about sharing what Optiven Group has. Optiven Group means staff, customers and stakeholders. Sharing means split, divide, and apportion resources with others. Resources may mean the joys we have, time, assets, knowledge or liabilities. Sharing is caring. Let's talk about caring;

  1. It is the most powerful form of humanity
  2. It promotes positive growth for all
  3. Gives us a chance to prosper - Creating one million entrepreneurs will give a chance to many to move from good to greatTake a simple example where these one million entrepreneurs be like George Wachiuri who aspire to offer jobs to 150,000 people as at 2016. It means that the entrepreneurs could offer 150 * 1,000,000 = 15,000,000 jobs in Africa or beyond
  4. Giving means receiving more -  This principle works for all. I have personally seen Optiven Ltd  receiving big awards "Overall Winner of the mid-sized companies In Kenya. We attributed this to the countless giving we do through the Optiven Foundation where we have education scholarships awarded to orphans across the 47 counties in Kenya. It has worked for Optiven Group, it can work for you. Just do it.
  5. Sharing holds the promise of a strengthened society - It is through sharing that the less fortunate gain the meaning of life. We remember a guardian coming to our offices in Kenya. The lady was about 70 years and she confessed to have the most joyous moment when Optiven Foundation picked her orphaned grandchild for a full scholarship. We discovered later that the relatives reappeared when the boy kept shining at Maranda High School a National School in Kenya. Africa lets practice giving as long as we are alive. We should be wired to uplift others.
  6. Sharing connects and evolves us - Humanity is about relationships. We have seen very distant communities in Africa associating with Optiven group of companies. This has been as a result of our program "Soaring Eagles Scholarship Program". The more we share, the more we become better.
  7. Sharing makes others get to work -  When others get resources to make ends meet, it goes without saying that they become focused. We once mentored a young man of 23 years within a period of three years, he is mentoring other 10 young Turks.
  8. Sharing stimulates innovators and inspires future leaders - In Africa, we are all inspired by Equity wings to fly scholarship program and in Kenya by soaring Eagles scholarship program by Optiven Foundation

George C.E.O Optiven Group, Chairman & Trustee - Optiven Foundation, Author, Donor, Philanthropist, Entrepreneur, Church Elder & Family Man

Enterprise of the Week

Feature from a digital magazine @MentorMe_Africa that seeks to create "Conversations That Inspire Greatness" and basically share Next-Door (Relatable) motivational stories (




News and Events

Optiven woos Kenyans living in Canada to invest in Kenya

News and Events :: Published on 10-10-2016

Optiven woos Kenyans living in Canada to invest in Kenya

The investment opportunities for Kenyans in the diaspora are numerous, yet many are oblivious of these avenues where they can channel their funds for capital gain. Kenyans in the diaspora are often in need of information on key areas of investment that they can explore back home. It is with... Read more


The 100% proceeds of this book goes to charity(towards educating the poor children)
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