Mi Vida: A Game Changer

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The residential developer is offering a great investment opportunity for local home buyers and investors within the middle income market. And they are looking to expand across the city with more projects to follow the success of Garden City.

Actis, a leading growth markets investor across Africa, Asia and Latin America, and Shapoorji Pallonji Real Estate (SPRE), the real estate arm of one of India’s largest conglomerates recently launched ‘Mi Vida’, a Ksh. 12 billion residential development targeting the middle class in Kenya. This joint venture aims to bridge the gap in the market by addressing the shortage of quality middle income housing in Kenya.

Upon adopting the phrase, Mi Vida (which means ‘my life’ in Spanish), the developer has embarked on an ambitious journey to revolutionize the residential sector by bringing best practices to the market, and competitive pricing, while staying focused on their approach.

The first project has been launched within Actis’ Garden City mixed use development, where a total of 624 residential units ranging from one, two and three bedroom units will be constructed on a 4.5 acre parcel. Construction of phase one, comprising 208 units is expected to commence this fourth quarter. Mi Vida will be fully integrated within the estate benefiting from the popular Garden City mall and Business Park where EABL will relocate their headquarters next month.

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The onsite Mi Vida Sales Office is ready and showcases the one bedroom, two bedroom and three bedroom units and is officially open for public viewing. Customers can now walk in, view the homes and experience the ‘Mi Vida’ brand, featuring best in class finishes and designs in each unit.

“Since we opened the show house to the public less than a month ago, we are pleased to announce that over 20 percent of phase one is sold out,” says Chris Coulson, Mi Vida, Chief Executive Officer. This is a significant achievement for a new brand in the market and a clear indicator that brand values, product and prices have been very well received. Payment plans are flexible with options around cash buyers, installment and mortgage. The prices range from Ksh. 7.6 million for a one bedroom unit, Ksh. 11.2 million for a two bedroom unit and Ksh. 12.7 million for a three bedroom unit with dsq.“We have partnered with banks for preferential mortgage rates which will make the houses more affordable to interested home buyers”, he added.

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Mi Vida at Garden City is set to be constructed in three phases. The first phase will be completed in 26 months and will be properly funded by the developer. “We are not solely relying on off-plan sales to start and fund the project. This is great news to buyers as we are able to commit to project timelines.”

According to Mr. Coulson, Actis has a very good local real estate track  having successfully developed Garden City Mall, Residences and Business Park, Junction shopping Mall, Nairobi Business Park and the recently launched Nairobi Gate Industrial Park.

“Mi Vida has entered the market on the back of extensive local knowledge and expertise, which is already proving invaluable.”

Tailor-made houses

“As part of our market analysis, we interviewed 400 buyers who were actively looking to purchase apartments and used their feedback to tailor our product to suit all of their needs,” offers Mr. Coulson adding that the key criteria revolved around location, price, design and quality of construction, security, easy access to parking, down to the size of balconies, which are properly sized to create usable and functional space.

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“Shapoorji Pallonji are providing guidance and support across the business,” says Mr. Coulson, adding that “They have a track record spanning over 150 years and their middle income brand in India has a development platform comprising 13,000 new units.”

Buying homes off plan has also become more of a challenge for local residential developers. 60% of those interviewed said they wouldn’t buy off the plan as, they couldn’t visualize the unit being built, but more importantly expressed market concerns around on time delivery and quality.

“We have a tagline of ‘a promise is a promise’ and we will deliver. This is something engrained given we are part of Shapoorji who are very committed to delivering on quality and on time,” he adds.

Lifestyle  

Mi Vida is offering people a lifestyle, not just a house. The changing tastes of home buyers have forced the home builder to come up with not only a design that meets the demands of today’s increasingly sophisticated homeowner, but also provides supporting amenities. To back this up at Garden City Mi Vida has dedicated 1.5 acres to amenities and outdoor spaces. This includes a club house, gym, event space, large swimming pool, kid’s splash pool, outdoor gym, and a 300 meter running track.

“We are compelled to develop a quality project that keenly focuses on the lifestyle of our buyers.”

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Current trends

The CEO notes that on one hand, the high-end housing sector is facing a challenge of oversupply, and it will take time for units to be sold and fully absorbed in the market.  Developer’s track record on quality, on-time completion along with, project location and prices are some of the key selling points.

On the other hand, there is a huge demand for affordable and middle-income homes in Kenya. However, the market is facing liquidity issues, and a number of smaller residential developers are struggling to put up apartments. This has led to a shortage of quality housing.

The government is however addressing the issue through the affordable housing scheme which is part of the Big 4 Agenda.

“We also plan to launch two more projects towards the end of this year, which will be on strategic locations and we will replicate the Mi Vida middle income model.”

CSR

As a way of giving back to the community, Actis has partnered with Arc Skills to improve the construction industry by offering training and skills development solutions to tackle the critical skills gap.

The training aims to help young community members in the area surrounding Garden City area secure their livelihood by equipping them with quality training that meets global standards.

The certification is aligned with the National Construction Authority (NCA) standards and so far they have trained over 450 people.