Kenya Property Market: How the electioneering period and the polls will impact the property market.

People lose their rationality whenever fear is impacted into them. This is an obvious fact whenever general elections are around the corner in the Kenyan economy, where most investors make emotional decisions rather than rational decisions when it comes to the property market.

Today, campaign ads are already airing in some parts of the country. Political rallies are left, right and center. Researchers and analysts agree that the closer the election gets, the more likely its effects on the property market, regardless of the presidential election candidates. In general, general elections and election campaigns breed uncertainty in the housing market, which alters attitudes among players in the property market, and therefore sways property inventories and values.
As the 2022 electioneering year approaches, players in the property market should expect the following:

a.) Real estate transactions to slow

The number of property transactions and the speed at which they occur is highly likely to drop significantly, as times of political uncertainty naturally cause caution.

b.) Interest Rates changes

A more difficult element to foretell is the election’s effect on interest rates. There is currently no implication as to whether these will fall or rise, but this fact alone will serve to put potential buyers off taking any risks.

c.) Tight measures on Mortgage lending

Moneylenders will become more cautious when it comes to approving mortgages, especially as there is the potential for tighter boundaries on the amounts they will be able to lend in relation to the relevant property value in the near future. This eventuality would be likely to negatively affect the purchase of new builds, with a knock-on effect on the construction industry.

On the positive side, we expect:

d.) Increased expenditure in the economy

In election periods, typically, there has been an increase in expenditure as a result of an increased money supply, increasing liquidity in the market. Increased liquidity is a recipe for increased investment in the real estate sector, leading to an increase in property values. This has a positive effect on the real estate sector.

e.) There will be a constrained performance of other asset classes such as equities

In the 2017 electioneering period, the equities market recorded poor performance with NASI losing 8.5% as a result of decline in large cap stocks. As such, we expect the equity market to remain flat during this period as investors’ confidence will be diminished. Therefore, for long-term investors, the Real estate will be a safe and stable haven for investors as yields are expected to be yields and the fact that real estate has prospects for long-term capital appreciation. This will enable investors to hedge against interest rate and inflation risk.

In conclusion, it is impossible to predict the upcoming election’s implications on the property market as an exact science. Policies such as those relating to affordable housing could offer a much-needed boost to the market, and after a slow period where property managers and developers will be feeling their way, there is every possibility that the Kenyan property will boom once more in 2024.

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