Kenya catching up to global real estate investment trust (REITs)

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Head of Stanlib Direct Property Investments, Amelia Beattie says  the group is  pleased to be the first to list an I-REIT in East Africa as this will boost the property market, improve governance and give investors. Head of Stanlib Direct Property Investments, Amelia Beattie says the group is pleased to be the first to list an I-REIT in East Africa as this will boost the property market, improve governance and give investors.

Bringing Kenya’s listed property sector with international publicly traded real estate investments and creating greater investor certainty, Kenyan Authorities have tabled a unified approach to property investment schemes.

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In a bid to align Kenya with international standards, enhance governance and boost expansion across sub-Saharan Africa, multi-specialist asset manager Stanlib has received regulatory approval from the Kenya Capital Markets Authority (CMA) to launch East Africa’s first Income Real Estate Investment Trust (I-REIT).

The internationally-recognised REIT structure exists in countries such as the US, Australia, Belgium, France, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, UK and South Africa.

The proposed I-REIT, to be listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange’s Alternative Investment Market Segment, which will allow investors to indirectly own a slice of Kenya’s vibrant property market. 

“We are pleased to be the first to list an I-REIT in East Africa as this will boost the property market, improve governance and give investors, an opportunity to invest in the growing property sector,” says Amelia Beattie, Head of Stanlib Direct Property Investments.

Kenya’s Capital Markets Authority (CMA) granted approval for the issue of the REIT on Friday, 2 October 2015.

Acting Chief Executive of the CMA Paul Muthaura said in a statement: “The approval of Stanlib Fahari I-REIT marks a fundamental step towards efforts to deepen and develop the capital markets by facilitating diversification of products available in the market.”

Stanlib’s move to list an I-REIT comes at a time when property as an asset class in Kenya is said to be heading for a boom.

According to the latest Kenya Economic Survey 2015, growth in the real estate and property sector is set to continue, driven by demand for new office space and urban housing. The survey notes that high demand for fixed assets, largely property, was a major contributor to a 5.3 per cent expansion in the Kenyan economy last year.

According to Keillen Ndlovu, Stanlib head of Listed Property: “The I-REIT will be pioneering the REIT structure in Kenya by providing local and international investors with a safe and a regulated investment structure which also presents a diversification opportunity into a new asset class. This should bode well for the real estate market with price discoveries and more listings in the region.”

A REIT is a collective investment vehicle that allows investors to pool capital, which is then invested in a portfolio of selected properties for a return.

Investors can opt for capital appreciation or income from their investment. In Africa, growth in this market has been limited by the absence of enabling legislation. South Africa has traded in REITs for the last 10 years, while Ghana has had access to REITs since 1994 and Nigeria 2007.

“REITs allow anyone to invest in portfolios of large-scale properties the same way they invest in other industries – through the purchase of stock. In the same way shareholders benefit by owning stocks in other corporations, the stockholders of a REIT earn a share of the income produced through real estate investment – without actually having to go out and buy or finance property,” says Beattie.

Stanlib Kenya is the third largest asset manager in Kenya. Stanlib has assets worth over US$2.3 billion under management in East Africa for a wide array of clients including pensions, endowments, parastatals, corporates, governments, NGOs, churches, savings and credit co-operatives and charitable organisations.

Read more on:

Listed Property Sector  |  Kenya Property Market  |  Stanlib Asset Management  |  Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT)  |  Keillen Ndlovu  |  Capital Markets Authority (CMA)  |  Paul Muthaura

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