Connect with us


Property sale: Timing is everything




More by this Author

Everyone gets into property investment with varied reasons and for an investor, it is to make as much money as possible, in the shortest period.

In Kenya, real estate is considered one of the safest investment options, with many rushing to cash in on the boom that has been experienced in the industry lately. Does this mean that the sector is immune to the highs and lows that are experienced in other segments of investment in the country?

Some experts posit that the level of security an investor enjoys from any investment is directly related to his or her knowledge of, and experience with the industry. They note that although property markets follow certain basic rules, each market has its own characteristics.

Africa Plantation Capital Regional MD Kosta Kioleoglu explains in an article that the property market has two cycles: financial and physical. During the financial cycle, capital flows affect prices, while the physical cycle (of demand and supply) determines vacancy, which then drive rents and values.

In terms of ‘favourable times’ of the year when a property is easy to dispose of, Vannesa Wanjiru, a real estate agent, says that the period between June and September is the best time for an investor to put up his property for sale, because it represents the period when property moves fastest.

“We have two seasons, from mid-January to mid-April and then June-September. The two periods would be a good time to put up your property for sale, although this does not necessarily mean that they will fetch higher prices compared to other months,” Wanjiru says.

The reason why the October period may not favour the seller, she says is that around this period, people tend to start thinking of the festive period, which changes their focus.

The same can be said for early January when people are organising themselves for the year ahead, paying bills and setting their goals. After mid-April, potential buyers are thinking about the Easter holiday.

However, some real estate experts say that as much as it might seem strange, the month of December presents investors looking to sell their properties with the best opportunity to capture the attention of prospective buyers.

They argue that property put on the market on Christmas Eve would be a fresh stock, and would generate enormous interest because the week after Christmas sees families come together to consider plans for the New Year. Most decisions are often made about a fresh start or what is new to invest in, something that may include moving homes or buying property.

Wanjiru agrees with them to an extent saying, “It could be true because people get their bonuses around this time, but it cannot give you what you get in the middle of the year between June and September.”

More than demand and supply

Reginald Okumu, a director at Ark Consultants Ltd, a real estate and property valuation company, believes that the narrative that there are peak and off peak periods is neither here nor there. Kenya’s economy has outgrown such basic reasoning of demand and supply dynamics.


He insists that the key to demand-supply drive is buyers’ income and the state of supply. When the latter has decreased while there is an increase in the former, it means that potential buyers can easily access credit because their income has increased.

He adds that buying a property, unlike impulse buying where one can wake up and buy a certain item requires planning. “If you plan to buy a house in January, then you will buy it that month whether you are paying school fees or not.” He says “anytime is a good time”, but everything depends on what you intend to achieve. The seller’s aim is to get the best price possible.

Reginald Okumu

Reginald Okumu in his office. PHOTO| FILE

The director, nonetheless, states that there are some months with more sales than others, noting low sales between the months of January and February, building up towards the middle of the year, before tipping off towards the end of the year.

“For the seller, the best time would be when the economy is booming and buyers are able to access credit, and supply is low. The period is known as ‘the sellers’ market’ — when prospective buyers have money and the properties available are few” he notes.

The real estate expert further states that ‘a sellers’ market’ is difficult to predict, for “although we say markets have cycles, they are never precise. Nobody sits down and decides that today we are going to release only 10 houses to the market. The market is broad and people are making independent decisions wherever they are.

However, it can be recognised through keeping supply and demand data, but the easiest way to tell is when you start seeing prices going up. This means that there is definitely a push towards purchase. Either the market is sensing supply or buyers are sensing a likelihood for appreciation in property prices, so they are buying ahead of time,” Mr Okumu says.

Mr Okumu further explains that if a seller wants to sell his or her property as fast as possible, then he may not attract the maximum price for it because the objective of getting the best price possible is overridden by the desire to dispose of it quickly.

“This time would be when you are selling because you have financial commitments like paying school fees, or offsetting medical bills, or in need of capital for a new venture. For example, huge sales may be during December for those taking children to schools in the country, in January, or between June and July, for those taking their children to schools abroad,” Mr Okumu points out.



Sordid tale of the bank ‘that would bribe God’




Bank of Credit and Commerce International. August 1991. [File, Standard]

“This bank would bribe God.” These words of a former employee of the disgraced Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) sum up one of the most rotten global financial institutions.
BCCI pitched itself as a top bank for the Third World, but its spectacular collapse would reveal a web of transnational corruption and a playground for dictators, drug lords and terrorists.
It was one of the largest banks cutting across 69 countries and its aftermath would cause despair to innocent depositors, including Kenyans.
BCCI, which had $20 billion (Sh2.1 trillion in today’s exchange rate) assets globally, was revealed to have lost more than its entire capital.
The bank was founded in 1972 by the crafty Pakistani banker Agha Hasan Abedi.
He was loved in his homeland for his charitable acts but would go on to break every rule known to God and man.
In 1991, the Bank of England (BoE) froze its assets, citing large-scale fraud running for several years. This would see the bank cease operations in multiple countries. The Luxembourg-based BCCI was 77 per cent owned by the Gulf Emirate of Abu Dhabi.  
BoE investigations had unearthed laundering of drugs money, terrorism financing and the bank boasted of having high-profile customers such as Panama’s former strongman Manual Noriega as customers.
The Standard, quoting “highly placed” sources reported that Abu Dhabi ruler Sheikh Zayed Sultan would act as guarantor to protect the savings of Kenyan depositors.
The bank had five branches countrywide and panic had gripped depositors on the state of their money.
Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) would then move to appoint a manager to oversee the operations of the BCCI operations in Kenya.
It sent statements assuring depositors that their money was safe.
The Standard reported that the Sheikh would be approaching the Kenyan and other regional subsidiaries of the bank to urge them to maintain operations and assure them of his personal support.
It was said that contact between CBK and Abu Dhabi was “likely.”
This came as the British Ambassador to the UAE Graham Burton implored the gulf state to help compensate Britons, and the Indian government also took similar steps.
The collapse of BCCI was, however, not expect to badly hit the Kenyan banking system. This was during the sleazy 1990s when Kenya’s banking system was badly tested. It was the era of high graft and “political banks,” where the institutions fraudulently lent to firms belonging or connected to politicians, who were sometimes also shareholders.
And even though the impact was expected to be minimal, it was projected that a significant number of depositors would transfer funds from Asian and Arab banks to other local institutions.
“Confidence in Arab banking has taken a serious knock,” the “highly placed” source told The Standard.
BCCI didn’t go down without a fight. It accused the British government of a conspiracy to bring down the Pakistani-run bank.  The Sheikh was said to be furious and would later engage in a protracted legal battle with the British.
“It looks to us like a Western plot to eliminate a successful Muslim-run Third World Bank. We know that it often acted unethically. But that is no excuse for putting it out of business, especially as the Sultan of Abu Dhabi had agreed to a restructuring plan,” said a spokesperson for British Asians.
A CBK statement signed by then-Deputy Governor Wanjohi Murithi said it was keenly monitoring affairs of the mother bank and would go to lengths to protect Kenyan depositors.
“In this respect, the CBK has sought and obtained the assurance of the branch’s management that the interests of depositors are not put at risk by the difficulties facing the parent company and that the bank will meet any withdrawal instructions by depositors in the normal course of business,” said Mr Murithi.
CBK added that it had maintained surveillance of the local branch and was satisfied with its solvency and liquidity.
This was meant to stop Kenyans from making panic withdrawals.
For instance, armed policemen would be deployed at the bank’s Nairobi branch on Koinange Street after the bank had announced it would shut its Kenyan operations.
In Britain, thousands of businesses owned by British Asians were on the verge of financial ruin following the closure of BCCI.
Their firms held almost half of the 120,000 bank accounts registered with BCCI in Britain. 
The African Development Bank was also not spared from this mess, with the bulk of its funds deposited and BCCI and stood to lose every coin.
Criminal culture
In Britain, local authorities from Scotland to the Channel Islands are said to have lost over £100 million (Sh15.2 billion in today’s exchange rate).
The biggest puzzle remained how BCCI was allowed by BoE and other monetary regulation authorities globally to reach such levels of fraudulence.
This was despite the bank being under tight watch owing to the conviction of some of its executives on narcotics laundering charges in the US.
Coast politician, the late Shariff Nassir, would claim that five primary schools in Mombasa lost nearly Sh1 million and appealed to then Education Minister George Saitoti to help recover the savings. Then BoE Governor Robin Leigh-Pemberton condemned it as so deeply immersed in fraud that rescue or recovery – at least in Britain – was out of the question.
“The culture of the bank is criminal,” he said. The bank was revealed to have targeted the Third World and had created several “institutional devices” to promote its operations in developing countries.
These included the Third World Foundation for Social and Economic Studies, a British-registered charity.
“It allowed it to cultivate high-level contacts among international statesmen,” reported The Observer, a British newspaper.
BCCI also arranged an annual Third World lecture and a Third World prize endowment fund of about $10 million (Sh1 billion in today’s exchange rate).
Winners of the annual prize had included Nelson Mandela (1985), sir Bob Geldof (1986) and Archbishop Desmond Tutu (1989).
[email protected]    


Monitor water pumps remotely via your phone

Tracking and monitoring motor vehicles is not new to Kenyans. Competition to install affordable tracking devices is fierce but essential for fleet managers who receive reports online and track vehicles from the comfort of their desk.

Continue Reading


Agricultural Development Corporation Chief Accountant Gerald Karuga on the Spot Over Fraud –




Gerald Karuga, the acting chief accountant at the Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC), is on the spot over fraud in land dealings.

ADC was established in 1965 through an Act of Parliament Cap 346 to facilitate the land transfer programme from European settlers to locals after Kenya gained independence.

Karuga is under fire for allegedly aiding a former powerful permanent secretary in the KANU era Benjamin Kipkulei to deprive ADC beneficiaries of their land in Naivasha.

Kahawa Tungu understands that the aggrieved parties continue to protest the injustice and are now asking the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to probe Karuga.

A source who spoke to Weekly Citizen publication revealed that Managing Director Mohammed Dulle is also involved in the mess at ADC.

Read: Ministry of Agriculture Apologizes After Sending Out Tweets Portraying the President in bad light

Dulle is accused of sidelining a section of staffers in the parastatal.

The sources at ADC intimated that Karuga has been placed strategically at ADC to safeguard interests of many people who acquired the corporations’ land as “donations” from former President Daniel Arap Moi.

Despite working at ADC for many years Karuga has never been transferred, a trend that has raised eyebrows.

“Karuga has worked here for more than 30 years and unlike other senior officers in other parastatals who are transferred after promotion or moved to different ministries, for him, he has stuck here for all these years and we highly suspect that he is aiding people who were dished out with big chunks of land belonging to the corporation in different parts of the country,” said the source.

In the case of Karuga safeguarding Kipkulei’s interests, workers at the parastatals and the victims who claim to have lost their land in Naivasha revealed that during the Moi regime some senior officials used dubious means to register people as beneficiaries of land without their knowledge and later on colluded with rogue land officials at the Ministry of Lands to acquire title deeds in their names instead of those of the benefactors.

Read Also: Galana Kulalu Irrigation Scheme To Undergo Viability Test Before Being Privatised


“We have information that Karuga has benefitted much from Kipkulei through helping him and this can be proved by the fact that since the matter of the Naivasha land began, he has been seen changing and buying high-end vehicles that many people of his rank in government can’t afford to buy or maintain,” the source added.

“He is even building a big apartment for rent in Ruiru town.”

The wealthy officer is valued at over Sh1.5 billion in prime properties and real estate.

Last month, more than 100 squatters caused scenes in Naivasha after raiding a private firm owned by Kipkulei.

The squatters, who claimed to have lived on the land for more than 40 years, were protesting take over of the land by a private developer who had allegedly bought the land from the former PS.

They pulled down a three-kilometre fence that the private developed had erected.

The squatters claimed that the former PS had not informed them that he had sold the land and that the developer was spraying harmful chemicals on the grass affecting their livestock and homes built on a section of the land.

Read Also: DP Ruto Wants NCPB And Other Agricultural Bodies Merged For Efficiency

Naivasha Deputy County Commissioner Kisilu Mutua later issued a statement warning the squatters against encroaching on Kipkuleir’s land.

“They are illegally invading private land. We shall not allow the rule of the jungle to take root,” warned Mutua.

Meanwhile, a parliamentary committee recently demanded to know identities of 10 faceless people who grabbed 30,350 acres of land belonging to the parastatal, exposing the rot at the corporation.

ADC Chairman Nick Salat, who doubles up as the KANU party Secretary-General, denied knowledge of the individuals and has asked DCI to probe the matter.

Email your news TIPS to [email protected] or WhatsApp +254708677607. You can also find us on Telegram through

Continue Reading


William Ruto eyes Raila Odinga Nyanza backyard




Deputy President William Ruto will next month take his ‘hustler nation’ campaigns to his main rival, ODM leader Raila Odinga’s Nyanza backyard, in an escalation of the 2022 General Election competition.

Acrimonious fall-out

Development agenda

Won’t bear fruit

Continue Reading


Kenyan Tribune