REITs In Kenya - Everything You Need to Know About Real Estate Investment Trusts

Learn about Development REITs (D-REITs) and Income REITs (I-REITs) in Kenya and how to invest in them.

Sep 5, 2023 - 11:45
Sep 4, 2023 - 11:46
REITs In Kenya - Everything You Need to Know About Real Estate Investment Trusts
REITs In Kenya - Everything You Need to Know About Real Estate Investment Trusts

Have you ever dreamed of owning a piece of a luxurious shopping mall or a student accommodation facility? What if I told you you can invest in these real estate ventures with as little as under Kshs 1,000? Yes, it's possible through Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) - regulated investment vehicles that allow investors to pool their funds and invest in real estate assets. This comprehensive guide delves into the world of REITs in Kenya, covering types of REITs, their advantages, how to invest, potential risks, and more. Let's embark on this journey of unlocking opportunities in the real estate market!

Key Takeaways from the Article

  1. REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts) allow investors to pool funds and invest in real estate assets.
  2. Kenya has two main REIT types: Development REITs (D-REITs) and Income REITs (I-REITs).
  3. Parties involved in REITs include the Capital Markets Authority, Trustees, REIT Managers, Property Managers, and Service Providers.
  4. REITs offer advantages such as access to large-scale investments, diversification, steady income, liquidity, and professional management.
  5. Investing in REITs involves choosing a REIT, opening an account, purchasing units, and earning returns through dividends and capital gains.
  6. Potential risks of investing in REITs include market risk, economic factors, interest rate changes, and property-specific issues.

What Are REITs and How Do They Work?

REITs, or Real Estate Investment Trusts, offer a gateway for individuals to invest in real estate projects without direct property ownership. These government-regulated investment vehicles allow investors to pool funds to acquire and manage real estate assets. In return, investors are allocated units and receive dividends and capital gains from these units. Think of REITs as a collective way to own pieces of large-scale real estate projects, such as shopping malls, student accommodations, and more.

Types of REITs in Kenya

There are two REIT types in Kenya: Development REITs (D-REITs) and Income REITs (I-REITs).

  • Development REITs (D-REITs) focus on acquiring real estate for development and construction projects. These projects can include housing or commercial ventures. Investors in D-REITs benefit from capital appreciation and the eventual sale of developed properties.
  • Income REITs (I-REITs) invest in stabilized income-generating real estate assets. These assets include student accommodations, commercial properties, and more. I-REIT investors receive dividends from the rental income generated by these assets.

The Structure of REITs

REITs have a structured setup involving several vital parties:

  1. Capital Markets Authority (CMA): This government agency regulates and oversees REIT operations in Kenya, ensuring investor protection and market integrity.
  2. Trustee: The Trustee is responsible for overseeing the management and compliance of a REIT. They legally own assets on behalf of investors and ensure that funds are invested as per the Trust Deed.
  3. REIT Manager: The REIT Manager sets up and manages the REIT's investments. They acquire, manage, maintain, and dispose of real estate assets on behalf of investors.
  4. Property Manager: The Property Manager handles property management services, ensuring assets are well-maintained and managed effectively.
  5. Service Providers: Various providers, such as property valuers, structural engineers, legal advisors, and auditors, contribute operational services to the REIT.

Current Issuers in the market?

Issuer Name Type of REIT Listing Date
1. ILAM Fahari I-REIT October 2015
2. Acorn Holdings Limited Acorn ASA I-REIT February 2021
3. Acorn Holdings Limited Acorn ASA D-REIT February 2021

Advantages of Investing in REITs

  • Access to Large-Scale Investments: REITs enable even small investors to participate in large real estate ventures that would otherwise be financially out of reach.
  • Diversification: REITs offer diversification by allowing investors to own shares in multiple real estate projects, reducing risk.
  • Steady Income: Income REITs provide regular income through dividends, offering a stable income stream for investors.
  • Liquidity: Unlike direct real estate ownership, REITs provide liquidity through easy buying and selling of units.
  • Professional Management: REITs are managed by professionals who understand the real estate industry, enhancing the potential for successful investments.

How to Invest in REITs

To invest in REITs, you need to follow these steps:

  1. Choose a REIT: Decide on the type of REIT you want to invest in, considering your investment goals and risk tolerance.
  2. Open an Account: If the chosen REIT is traded on an OTC platform like Acorn I-REIT, open an account with the respective platform.
  3. Purchase Units: Invest by purchasing units of the chosen REIT. Each unit represents a share of ownership in the real estate assets.
  4. Earn Returns: As the REIT generates income through rent or capital appreciation, you'll receive dividends and potential capital gains.

Potential Risks of Investing in REITs

  • Market Risk: REITs' value can fluctuate based on market conditions and demand for real estate.
  • Economic Factors: Economic downturns can impact rental income and property values.
  • Interest Rate Changes: Rising interest rates can affect REITs' financing costs and attractiveness.
  • Property-specific Risks: Issues like vacancies, maintenance costs, and property management can influence returns.

READ ALSO: Ardhisasa Portal: How To Register, Perform Land Search, Costs, and More


Investing in REITs opens doors to the world of real estate without the complexities of direct property ownership. Participating in Development REITs or Income REITs makes you part of large-scale projects, enjoying potential returns from capital appreciation and steady rental income. While risks exist, proper research and understanding can help mitigate them. Remember, with as little as under Kshs 1,000, you can embark on this wealth-building journey through REITs. 

FAQs about REITs in Kenya

Can I invest in REITs with a small amount of money? 

Yes, REITs allow even small investors to participate, with some REITs enabling investments with as little as under Kshs 1,000.

Are REITs regulated? 

Yes, REITs are regulated by the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) in Kenya to ensure investor protection and market integrity.

How do I earn from my REIT investment? 

You earn through dividends and potential capital gains as the REIT generates income and appreciates.

What's the difference between D-REITs and I-REITs? 

D-REITs focus on development projects, while I-REITs invest in stabilized income-generating assets like student accommodations and commercial properties.

What are the benefits of investing in REITs?

Benefits include access to large-scale real estate, diversification, steady income, liquidity, and professional management.

What are the risks of investing in REITs?

Risks include market fluctuations, economic factors, interest rate changes, and property-specific issues.

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Joseph Richard Joseph is a graduate of Mathematics and Computer Science (Applied Option). With expertise in Technology and Finance, he brings his knowledge to the field, demonstrating an authoritative understanding of these interrelated areas. Joseph is pursuing a Master's in Software Engineering, further expanding his skill set.