The Blue Triangle Cement - 18th Kenya Homes Expo that brought together over a hundred exhibitors has been hailed as a huge success
Although the exhibition was incepted in 2005 as a forum for real estate industry players to meet and share market ideas, the Expo has grown into a forum where investors accumulate thousands of sales leads and come up with tangible solutions to the problems that ail the real estate industry in Kenya.
During the Expo's opening ceremony, Executive Chairman of Mentor Group Limited ,Mr Daniel Ojijo, noted that with the increased entry of multinationals in Nairobi within property and related sectors, the Kenya Homes Expo has now become the first bet for them in discovering the market, its dynamics and buyer behaviour. Further, Mr. Ojijo also noted that real estate in the country is growing with more apartments coming up in Nairobi.
However, Ojijo asked the government to be proactive in the provision of affordable housing as millions of low income earners still remain without housing. Responding to this, Director of Administration in the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Mr Ibrahim Hussein, agreed that there is a shortfall between demand and supply of affordable housing, resulting in overcrowding and the proliferation of squatter and informal settlements.
"To address these challenges, the government has demonstrated strong political will to reverse the housing problems. The sector is now managed under the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development in order to maximize on the synergies of the complementary functions," explained Mr. Hussein who was giving a speech on behalf of the Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Land, Housing and Urban Development Hon. Charity Ngilu.
Speaking at the event's closing ceremony, Sales and Marketing Director at Sadolin Paints, Nashir Kassam, said that Ojijo's comments about the development of apartments being at an all time high had made him happy because such development meant more business for Sadolin Paints, the strongest and most popular brand in East Africa. Kassam added that, "Though this is the first time we have sponsored the Kenya Homes Expo, we believe that we should have done it earlier because the Expo has given us more exposure."
The sentiments were echoed by the Showroom Manager of Hotpoint Appliances Ms. Ritu Magon, who remarked: "I have never been this exhausted after an expo. I think that I was this tired because I attended to so many people who were interested in our products. We would like to thank Daniel Ojijo and the entire team for putting the Expo together. However, we would like to see more people from neighbouring countries exhibit since we also advertise this Expo as the biggest in East and Central Africa."
Customer Care Executive of East African Portland Cement, Rose Akinyi, also challenged the organizers of the Kenya Homes Expo to make the event bigger. "By the time we come to the next Expo, we need to have a double number. All we need to see is growth."
People who have seen the Expo grow were also pleased with the event. Major Karau, a developer at Windsor Homes, said that he was very happy that in every other Expo, there is something new to explore. "New business deals are being sealed all the time. I have promised five exhibitors business which I will ensure that I follow up on," he explained.
Ojijo concluded by thanking the Title Sponsor, East African Portland Cement, and Gold Sponsors Hotpoint Appliances Limited, Wananchi Group, Sadolin Paints and Standard Chartered Bank. "Without you all, we would not have been able to do this," he noted as he closed the successful four day event.
Interviews with people who attended the Expo
Cecilia Wairimu aka, Amani, musician
"This was my first time to visit the Blue Triangle Cement - Kenya Homes Expo. It has been an eye opening experience since I was able to gauge the property market and there were so many properties to see, using an agent would be limiting. However, I would like to see the cost of property go down so that more Kenyans can be able to buy property."
Alisain Ba, MD, Shelter Afrique
"The Expo was fantastic. The exhibitors are credible and the event seems to be drawing the right audience. It is events like this that will improve the lifestyle of Kenyans."
Harith Salim, Anchor, NTV
"This was a very nice experience. Though this is my first time, I can say that I have liked what I have seen. I came because I am interested in purchasing property."
Linda Muthama, Musician
"I've loved the Equity Bank Stall! I am excited by all the properties and the way that they have been showcased."
Jerry Rawlings, Marketer
"I had a great time at the Kenya Homes Expo where I came to look for a home to purchase and also to network. The event is bigger and better because it now caters to the middle income earners."
Khadija Ahmed, Student
"I enjoyed myself very much. I particularly liked sampling and buying new things in the market, some of which were on offer. The exhibitors were also friendly and exposed us to new ideas. I will definitely be back next year."
David Kimir, 3D Animator
"The Expo was very interesting. I must say that the Blue Triangle Cement- Kenya Homes Expo has improved from two years ago when I last visited. I particularly liked the Hotpoint Systems. The exhibitors are also very polite and willing to guide the customers."