American real estate company woos Kenyan investors
An American real estate firm is looking at capitalising on the dual citizenship provision in the new Constitution to get Kenyans invest in the property market in the United States.
Realty Capital Inc expects an increase in the number of Kenyans seeking to live and work in the US as its core clientele with an opportunity lying in the acquisition of homes and other real estate related investments.
The new Constitution allows Kenyans to hold a passport of another country, without forfeiting their Kenyan ones.
Ken Malmborg chief executive Realty Capital says the firm would also target individual investors and companies that want to diversify or grow their investment portfolio in real estate and property related businesses.
"Our core business is property, but we are combining real estate with other businesses that are centred on real estate like green energy," he said.
Malmborg is in Nairobi for talks to potential investors as well as exhibit at a homes and property expo next week.
There have been concerns that despite the rock bottom property prices in the US, the process of acquiring property in that market is tedious especially for non-Americans while maintenance costs – including different taxations – is high.
"They are the same things that Americans are struggling with… it is not any different for them. What we are doing is approaching it as a business and there is a big opportunity in the depressed property market in America. The returns are also good and would interest any investors, large or small," he said.
There has also been a push to get Kenyans in the Diaspora to invest back home. Kenyans abroad send home upwards of $60 million every month. There are arguments that this could increase if people living abroad were provided with information on investment opportunities available in the country.
Malmborg, however, said his firm is looking at people who would want to relocate to the US as its core clientele but noted that it is also an opportunity for individuals and firms that would want to diversify their investments.
"Kenyans abroad have investments and that is why they are able to remit money back home… we are not going to divert investments that have otherwise been coming to Kenya," he said.
He said that the firm is also looking at Philippines and Chinese as among those that might be interested in investing in the US property market.
"The Chinese have shown enthusiasm mostly because of their green energy solutions."