As Investors With Simple Homes, Suraya, Ekeza, and Uriithi End in Tears, is the Kenyan Real Estate Bubble Bursting

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Simple Homes Kenya, famous for the “rent as you own” model of home ownership, went missing on Monday February 27, 2017 and in the process conning Kenyans an estimated Sh500 million.

Even as huge as the amount of money lost sounds, Kenyans were warned, but it seems they didn’t pay attention.

In the last few months,  a number of Kenyans have found themselves counting losses running into  millions of shillings after the once popular and highly marketed Suraya projects failed.

Wairimu Thimba, an investor who had placed faith with Suraya narrated to Citizen Media her frustrations:

“I feel they started these projects and then another without channeling our money where it was meant to build, it was just greed.”

Meanwhile, the Daily Nation is reporting that  hundreds of Kenyans who lost their savings in the troubled Ekeza Sacco and Gakuyo Real Estate recently camped outside the Directorate of Criminal Investigations headquarters on Kiambu Road hoping that they would get their money back.

Ms Anne Wairimu Mwangi, a housewife, joined Ekeza Sacco in 2017 and had saved Sh14,000. Looking to start a business,last year she went to her local Sacco branch in Kahawa West, but found they had closed shop. She found another in Githurai, where she filled out forms to withdraw her savings and close the account.

Her membership booklet, which had records of her saving history and all other documents related to the sacco were taken away, and she was given a slip to present to Equity Bank that was to disburse her funds after three months. She is still waiting for her money.

For , two of their housing ventures are in trouble — one is up for sale while developers in another property in Thika have been kicked out by the previous owner who says Urithi failed to pay him the balance.

When will Kenyans, even those in Diaspora, learn? Is it our greed?

Wallace Kantai once noted the following about real estate in Kenya:

“Take your pick of trite metaphor, but don’t say you weren’t warned,”

Kenya’s property market is in a bubble. The bubble is still inflating, and if it doesn’t get deflated gently, it will burst very painfully.

Real estate prices are almost totally un-moored from their true values, and what’s keeping them up there is hope, greed and fear (and a generous helping of dishonest money).

Everyone’s a property speculator and dealer. All power to them, but when the music stops, there’ll be plenty of people left without chairs. When the tide goes out, you’ll realize how many people were swimming commando.”

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