• Mon. Oct 2nd, 2023

UGANDA, Kampala | Real Muloodi News | Real estate investors have for too long ignored investing in single bedroom houses, also known in the Luganda language as “mizigo” (plural) and “muzigo” (singular). However, mizigo have proven to be an ideal investment for those who have realised their worth. 

Contrary to what many people think, mizigo houses are extremely popular with tenants, and provide sufficient income to make it a worthy investment option, particularly for investors who are starting out.

There are usually two types of mizigo. The first is your traditional muzigo, made up of one room that serves as both the bedroom and the sitting room, otherwise known as a studio. The occupant will sometimes separate the room using a curtain or divider. Often, this kind of muzigo comes with an outside kitchen or store, but occasionally the landlord will provide these amenities inside the property.

Then, you have the ‘deluxe mizigo’, which is a two-roomed house or unit with a self-contained single bedroom. This type of muzigo is a step up from your traditional muzigo, and usually has an indoor kitchen/store, as well as an indoor bathroom. The deluxe mizigo is in particularly high demand.

Jamada Sewali, from Mpererwe, has invested in many mizigo, and he says there are plenty of opportunities for making big returns. According to Jamada, this investment has become more profitable than investing in shares or depositing money in banks.

Jamada narrates how his foray into the mizigo market began with purchasing a 50 X 100 feet land in Kasangati at USh 3.5 m in 2004. Instead of letting the land value appreciate as many do, he put up simple rental properties as a ‘gamble’.

He has bought and built more rentals in five other places on Gayaza Road, using proceeds from his other investments.

Investing in fully furnished, deluxe mizigo is tangible, solid, beautiful and artistic if one goes into it well-informed.

According to David Lubwama, an architect attached to Nest/EHO Associates, a person can reap between USh 150,000 and USh 350,000 monthly from each single, self-contained bedroom home. This is significantly more than your traditional single-room mizigo, which typically yields USh 50,000 to USh 150,000, depending on the location and amenities like electricity or whether they have a kitchen and bathroom.

“I want to quit my job because I have a steady cash flow from my rentals.” “The challenge is raising the money to build them,” says Lubwama. “Land is very expensive in urban areas. This favours the wealthy over people of humble means.”

Isaac Kirunda of Kira town council says, “If you have five units, that is over USh20 m a year,” he says. “Rental units are also a lifetime source of revenue and they make life easier after retirement. I earn USh 25 m annually from my four rental units,” 

Single-bedroom units were for a long time in low-rent buildings in areas such as Bwaise, Kireka, Kyebando among others, that are just a few steps away from being slums. But these days you will find these same Mizigo all over Uganda, even in high end places like Bugolobi, Ntinda, Nakasero, Naalya, Muyenga, Mbuya, Mutungo, among other suburbs. 

However, we now have blocks of flats or rows of semi-detached single-contained bedroom apartments that are more luxurious, and therefore more pricey. 

Upscale areas of Najjera, Kiwatule, Kyanja and Kisaasi have embraced the mizigo concept to attract mostly bachelors who recently got jobs and are eager to leave their parents’ homes. They have the income to spend on higher rents and do not need to rent a two-bedroom house.

Since such tenants are usually single, with a few responsibilities, they have more disposable income. They have no problem paying the landlord 3 months’ rent in advance, even more if you have a tenancy agreement. 

As a landlord, if you are building single-bedroom units for rentals, you must focus on a few things that will attract the young, professional generation. A luxurious muzigo will increase your bargaining powers without digging too deep into your pockets.

The deluxe muzigo that will yield a healthy return on your investment should comprise;

  • A sitting room to spare some dining space.
  • A kitchen large enough to have a sink, a stove, and some other kitchen accessories. 
  • A spacious bedroom with an in-built wardrobe for storage.
  • You may add shelves in the lobby to provide additional storage of household items.
  • A bathroom that contains a shower and a toilet.

If the mizigo is in a gated compound, it provides a sense of security, making it even more attractive to tenants. Other important amenities include tiled surfaces and reliable water and power supply.

According to Jamada, the demand for mizigo will never go away because the ever-increasing number of Ugandans cannot afford to rent an entire house, let alone build one.

Constructing mizigo costs significantly less compared to bungalows, and if one tenant leaves, they don’t stay empty for long. With the current housing crisis in Uganda, people make bookings for these houses when they are still under construction or even when they are still occupied.

With the demand for single bedroom houses being so high, tenants will stay on an average of about three years. Therefore, if you’re just getting started in real estate investment and want to see a quick return on your money, single bedroom houses are a great option.