Good turnout at Kenyan real estate expo in US
Kenyans from several US cities turned out in numbers for this year’s Kenya Diaspora Homes Exposition (KDHE) held in Edison, New Jersey over the weekend.
The event, the second of its kind in seven years, attracted stakeholders from the banking industry as well as international and Kenyan real estate developers.
It offered exhibitors an opportunity to market their products to a relatively new clientele, while at the same time giving prospective financiers like KCB and National Bank a chance to market themselves.
Speaking to the Nation Monday evening, one of the event’s organisers said the turnout and the amount of interest shown by the attendees of the two day event had exceeded their expectations.
“We did anticipate a good number of people but I must admit that we were pleasantly surprised. We were overwhelmed by the numbers,” said Major (Rtd) Dominic Karau.
A number of American, as well as other nationals, could also be seen seeking investment information from officials in the more than 50 booths scattered all over the Jersey grounds.
“This excitement is unprecedented and the consumer confidence here is palpable,” said Jennifer Otachi from Orange County, California.
Since 2010, Kenyans in the Diaspora have been increasingly registering their interest in investing in real estate in Kenya. Some who attended the fair said they were disappointed that it was cut short a day earlier than planned due to bad weather.
“It was an ideal place for face-to-face networking where many deals were sealed and many others initiated,” said Denzil Musumba, who had travelled to the event from the District of Columbia.
But not everyone was bubbly.
John Kinyanjui, a Louisiana-based realtor, faulted the Kenyan Banks for what he termed as ‘exorbitantly high interest rates.’
“What sense does it make to borrow money at over 20 per cent interest rate when you can use your credit card from here and pay under 6 per cent?” he wondered.
“Even as Kenyans get excited, I advise them to be cautious and read the fine print carefully.”
Since inception, the Kenyans Diaspora Homes Expo has sought to become the nexus between Kenyans in the Diaspora and the real estate industry players back home. It also introduces them to developers and finance institutions.
“For years, there have been many Kenyans in the Diaspora wishing to invest in the Kenyan real estate industry but lack accurate information and credible sources of such information. Now they don’t have to make unnecessary trips to Kenya home in order to access crucial and legal investment information,” said Major Karau.
The weekend expo was a joint venture organised by the Telagen Investment Group and Kingspride Properties Company, in collaboration with the Kenyan embassy in Washington DC.
Kenya’s acting ambassador to the US, Ms Jean Kamau was represented at the event by Mr Evans Maturu, a first counsellor at the Kenyan Mission.