UGANDA, Kampala | Real Muloodi News | The urban real estate sector in and around Kampala has been a source of wealth for many individuals over the past 30 years. In fact, it’s not uncommon for a successful tycoon in the area to have built their fortune through property revenue or trading.
In the past two decades, the areas within a 30-mile radius of Kampala have transformed into thriving suburbs, filled with new residential homes and townships. Just 20 years ago, these areas were rural with limited urban housing. The trading centers that used to be small shops have now become major business hubs with modern properties and urban amenities.
The booming property development has brought financial success to many people through job creation, investment opportunities, and increased income. The industry employs people from a variety of professions, including hardware retailers, masons, property brokers and traders, architects, engineers, and manufacturers. The investment opportunities have been tremendous, transforming the lives of thousands.
From an external perspective, it may seem like the real estate industry has reached its full potential. However, according to industry experts, there are still untapped investment opportunities available.
Uganda’s Housing Deficit
According to Habitat for Humanity, Uganda has a shortage of 2.4 million housing units, with 210,000 of these located in urban areas and 1.395 million in rural areas. An estimated 900,000 units are substandard and in need of replacement or upgrading.
Given that 70% of Uganda’s population is under the age of 30, the demand for housing is not expected to slow down. With a growing population, the construction of homes for rent or sale will continue to be a lucrative business for many years to come. Although many investors have already taken advantage of this opportunity, there are still hidden opportunities to explore.
One of the hidden investment opportunities in the urban real estate market is the Muzigo or Studio Apartments.
The demand for these small rental homes that combine the functions of a full home into one room is high, making it a smart investment.
Studio apartments cater to young, underemployed individuals who cannot afford more spacious homes, and with a population of massive unemployment, it is a wise investment.
Due to the enormous number of young, underemployed persons searching for housing, property expert Cissy Namaganda thinks that purchasing studio flats is a very affordable and wise investment in a nation with high unemployment and underemployment.
“Most of these young people cannot afford anything more than a studio apartment because they make so little. And because they make up the biggest portion of the workforce, it is a wise to invest in housing suited for them,” she advises.
Another opportunity is vacation rentals, which are short-stay homes designed to feel like a home away from home. They offer privacy, which families and couples prefer over hotels. These homes can be advertised with property brokers or listed on platforms like Airbnb and can provide a steady stream of income.
Namaganda says, “When people say they have gone to Dubai to rest, usually the places they choose to rest from are vacation rentals. These are usually registered on AirBnB so that people on the other end of the world can book them online. But even without AirBnB, these homes can be advertised with property brokers and rented out for short stays.”
Office Condominiums are another opportunity that investors should consider. With more people opting to work from home or close to home after the COVID-19 lockdowns, the demand for owned office space is increasing.
Office condos are workstations in a property complex that are sold to companies or individuals instead of rented. Investors could benefit from building office condos in city suburbs closer to people’s residences.
According to Alex Mabanga, a property broker in Kitende off Entebbe Road, the number of clients searching for office space to rent has increased in the past two years.
“After two years of working from home because of the covid-19 lockdowns, most people seem to find driving to the central business district for work cumbersome. Many prefer to work from home, or at least close to home. And because many spent two years working from home and not paying office rent, many are hell-bent on keeping it that way; they are looking to own their own offices. And that is where office condos come in,” says Mabanga.
Investors might do themselves a favour by starting to think of building office condos deep in city suburbs closer to people’s residences.
With the increasing demand for rent-to-own office spaces in proximity to people’s residences, investors are exploring the option of building office condos in city suburbs. This trend could prove to be a lucrative investment for the future.
Interior Design Companies
The field of interior design is still relatively new in Uganda’s real estate market. Despite massive growth in construction over the last two decades, the interior design industry has not kept pace. This presents a significant gap in the market for skilled interior designers to make their mark.
“People build great homes only for them to be underwhelmed by the sheer boredom they find themselves in. Everything from the colour of the walls to the sofas to the curtains to the lights need professional to make them interesting and exciting. Making the interior of a house to feel great needs the skills of a skilled interior designer,” Namaganda says.
Homes for the Elderly
With a growing number of senior citizens seeking comfortable homes in their later years, there is a rising demand for investment in senior living communities. These homes would offer all the necessary care, including meals, cleaning, and medical attention, to make life more comfortable for the elderly.
“We have to come to terms with the fact that the traditional way we have always looked after the elderly is coming to an end with the modern era. And we must build homes for the elderly designed to make them live comfortable lives where they can be cared for by different kinds of professionals,” Namaganda says.
They are the future of city parking, but Kampala has only one dedicated parking building.
With heavy traffic on the roads daily and a population that is 70% under 30 years old, the need for parking buildings is becoming more urgent. Street parking is becoming increasingly expensive and unsafe, and parking towers are seen as the solution to the problem.
As the economy of Uganda matures, the demand for warehouses for rent is on the rise. For young exporters and importers who are starting, finding safe storage space for their commodities is a priority. Property brokers believe that investing in warehouses is a smart investment for the future.
James Okello a property broker in Banda and Nakawa says, “Not every exporter or importer is well off enough to have their own warehouse. Many are young and starting out, and they want safe places for their commodities. There are also those who have to leave the country for work and they come seeking warehouses in which they can keep their things for two or three years.”
Buying empty plots close to developed areas is a worthwhile investment.
Investing in real estate has long been seen as a path to financial success. Location is key, and buying empty plots near developed areas can be a lucrative investment, although they come at a high cost. For a more affordable option, consider buying plots an hour out of town. Just be sure to verify that the plot has undisputed title deeds, local approvals, and all necessary paperwork.
The old saying holds in real estate – location is everything. A great home in the wrong location won’t sell, and a modest home in the right location will be in high demand. When considering real estate investments, always keep location in mind.
In conclusion, the urban real estate industry in Uganda, specifically around Kampala City, continues to provide numerous investment opportunities, including studio apartments, vacation rentals, office condominiums and much more.
With a growing population and high demand for housing, the potential for financial success in the urban real estate market remains high.
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