UGANDA, Nkozi | Real Muloodi News | For many young people with meagre earnings, the ability to buy property seems out of reach. Youth often put aside aspirations of becoming a property owner until they are older and better established.
However, youth can acquire property through cultivating a savings culture and seeking credit. In fact, it is never too early to think about investing in property. Since land appreciates, the benefits of buying a property in one’s youth are substantial.
The story of a young Vincent Agaba is a prime example. In 2003, Agaba learned that an elderly woman was selling a piece of her land in Nkozi, close to Uganda Martyrs University.
Nkozi is located approximately 85 km southwest of Kampala. Land value back then was not what it is today. However, since 2003, the value of land has appreciated, and the population density has also grown. Using the USh 3 million he saved, Agaba bought a quarter of an acre of the land.
Agaba stated, “When I was at Uganda Martyrs University Nkozi, they would give me pocket money of around Shs500,000. I went down to the village and found this old lady selling a piece of land. It took me about one year to clear the entire bill.”
One year later, Agaba returned to the village to find his land sold to another person.
“When I came back, I found cows on my land. On inquiry, the old lady apologized and informed me she had sold the land to someone else while I was away. Calm and collected, and since I had no option, I asked the old lady for an alternative,” he narrates.
With the assistance of the local authorities, the old lady gave Agaba another plot of land, this time away from the main road.
Agaba claims that with the help of surveyors, it took two years to obtain the land title. After ten years of owning the land, he sold the plot five times more than the original purchase price.
Let’s explore what it takes for youth to buy land.
Save Whatever Money You Can
Brian Mwase, a 30-year-old, is another young man who worked numerous side-business ventures in addition to his main job to save the money to purchase property. In five years, he had saved money and bought a 40-by-100 plot of land in Gayaza at USh 6 million.
According to Agaba, the only thing that stands between youth and property ownership is not the lack of funds, but interest and determination.
Spending less at expensive restaurants and saving more can help one save enough money to eventually buy a property.
The reality, however, is that most young people, particularly those in Kampala, earn an average of Shs1 million per year. There is not much saving after personal and family expenses.
It was also about the right timing. Mwase adds: “Through an old friend, who is also the vice-chairperson of the area, I got wind of someone selling land in Gayaza. I quickly bought the plot,” Mwase narrates.
Mwase intends to get the title when he has enough money, probably in two years. It would have been more expensive for him to complete everything at once.
Agaba advises that land is very cheap in rural areas and its value changes as the population increases.
Yunus Babuwaire, manager for mortgage and personal banking at Housing Finance Bank, says financial institutions can aid youth to acquire property.
“Since 80% of the land in Uganda is untitled, if a youth wants to buy land we have the flexibility to finance the acquisition of land in that arrangement,” Babuwaire says.
According to Babuwaire, the bank also has agreements with developers who build affordable housing for the youth with budgets ranging from USh 20 million to USh 100 million.
Because few young people have a property to use as collateral for loans, the bank looks at the income of the employed youth.
“When you come, you identify the land you want, we assess you based on your income and payroll. But for those youths without formal employment, we are advising them to get into investment groups,” he says.
The bank provides funding to savings clubs to buy property, which may then be split among the young members in informal employment.
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