This week CFCLIfe and Stanlib managers held a media briefing on Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT’s) in Kenya and their possible impact on the local property scene. REIT’s are common around the world, South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria have had legislation for them, and finally, there’s a Kenya law on REIT’s in place (July 2013) after many years of formulation and review.
Stanlib Kenya plan to launch REIT’s in Kenya in September 2014 – and the law allows for two kinds – Income REIT’s (I-REIT) and Development REIT’s (D-REIT). Some unique features about REIT’s (which will cost between Kshs 100 – 300 million to set up with a minimum of 7 promoters) include they must distribute about 80% of profits to investors, and investors can sign on to I-REIT’s for as low as Kshs 5,000.
The speakers noted that many large landlords in Kenya are quite comfortable earning incomes of less than 5% on their assets, when they could be earning quite a bit more (10% – 20%) by signing up with REIT’s – which are tax-exempt and offer diversification (can invest in strong properties prisons, hospitals, malls) with more liquidity for all investors who participate in the REIT. While there’s saturation as the high end of the property market, and expensive land prices are still climbing, there are still great opportunities at the mid- and lower- residential and commercial income segments. Also, the Kenya UN classification was upgraded which means that from a previous 45, over 180 countries will now have officials accredited to the UN living in Nairobi.
Also licensed as REIT managers alongside Stanlib in April, were CIC Assets and Fusion Investments.
Answers to ColdTusker’s questions
- The minimum amount of initial assets for a D-Reit is 100M and for a I-Reit is Kshs 300M
- D-REIT in the act is defined as “a development and construction real estate investment trust” is for sophisticated investors e.g for property developers to put up properties. They have shorter lifespans – and YES they can convert to I-Reit’s which are for income from
- Centum 2 Rivers was mentioned as the planned largest mall in Eastern Africa – with Carrefour as an anchor along with other foreign shops as main tenants (not the usual local supermarket and shops in the stores)..interesting as Carrefour seems to be withdrawing from emerging markets – http://qz.com/231405/carrefours-india-exit-has-little-to-do-with-the-governments-reservations-on-retail/