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Last updated at 15:01 BST, Friday, 17 September 2010

Pirates affect Nairobi house prices

Summary

26 March 2010

According to estate agents in Kenya's capital Nairobi, house prices have doubled in the past three years. But this isn't just because of increasing wealth or investors; it's possible that there's also another, far more interesting reason.

Reporter:
Rachel Wright

Spanish fishing vessel

Spanish fishing vessel which survived an attack by pirates

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Report

While property prices in the United States have fallen almost 30 per cent in the last three years, the cost of homes in the Kenyan capital Nairobi has almost doubled, according to estate agents in the city.

Some of the reasons for this rise can be attributed to improvements in the city's infrastructure and people fleeing the violence in the Rift valley. But, there could be another, much more fascinating factor.

Pirates operating off neighbouring Somalia's coast are thought to generate tens of millions of dollars a year. And Joseph Kaeyah, from the Kenya Institute of Public Policy Research, thinks that some Somali pirates are using the Nairobi property market.

According to Nairobi estate agent Charles Mwangi, the reasons
pirates may be doing this is obvious. It could be a way of hiding their cash or laundering it. He's concerned about the impact this is having on ordinary Kenyans, as an increasing number of middle class families cannot afford to buy homes.

Rachel Wright, BBC News

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Grammar

estate agents

people who work for companies that charge money to sell land and properties for other people, e.g. houses, shops and office space

can be attributed to

is as a result of, is caused by

infrastructure

roads, public transport, water, electricity and other services which help an area or society to function well

fleeing

escaping, running away from

fascinating factor

very interesting reason

pirates

sailors who attack, rob and carry out other crimes against other sailors while travelling on the seas, rivers and other waterways

operating

carrying out activities, functioning

generate

make, produce

laundering

here, an illegal process by which criminals try to hide money from government officials because it has been earned illegally

impact

strong effect, big change

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