23 August 2011

Uganda: Joint Initiatives Give Investors Vibrant Real Estate Market

The real estate market in Uganda is a gold mine awaiting good structures that can enable the players and public archive relentless returns for both foreign and local investors. The lack of statutes to recognise regulation and monitor performances means that a lot of the investments go unrecognised and the players are exposed to illicit acts.

Tax collection

To tax an industry that is without institutional structures will imply for high costs on tax collection and little returns on collections or taxing the minority because of the undetected majority. Growth suddenly slows down due frustrations. The results of a well-managed real estate industry are relentless. The players over-see a huge change of hands in assets that represent huge amounts of monetary value. The commission not only imply for increased incomes but also a factor in current shift of prices.

Establishing structures

The lack of an authority, statutes and monitoring structures leaves less to be admired for any foreign investor. Despite steadily growing, the lack of structures under which the market operates will result into degenerated growth that is immature to have meaningful economic impact.

The high risk faced by the players and public are testimony to the great need for change where transactions are monitored, policies defined and players registered. This doesn't undermine the achievements of the Association of Real Estate Agents (AREA) but much more strategic approaches are required.

The real estate market is very broad, ranging from brokerage, construction, financing and management, among others. At this level, the players in the different market ventures should be forming association, unions and mergers in order to compete at a regional level.


Efforts to recognise each other and associate will result in stronger advocacy to protect the industry and trade. There is a lot to be learnt in the market but first and foremost, the initiative to unite practices and trade.

The market is full of loop holes and this has attracted dishonest imposters who are robbing the public through fictitious sale of properties. Also, there are constructors who are least qualified and construct shaky buildings, leading to the loss of lives and property.

A market without integrity is a market ever failing. The level of trade that can be achieved is undermined by lack of a cooperate culture. High returns are triggered if the legitimate steps are taken to improve the trade. This involves establishing joint associations, having regional markets where transactions are registered or monitored, and authority with statutory remedies that can guide and regulate market activities.

Time and again, you see property owners who desperately sell them at very low prices, buyers who are cheated, wrangles on after sales, losses to imposters and overvalued acquisitions, among others.

Real estate trade is a profession and overlooking it as such means continuously jeopardising a nation's interests and developments.

The strategy

Having a joint market is an essential step to good performances to the players. It will result in cutting operation costs operation, exposure to a broader market and access to more protection on transactions. Good performance of the market requires minimising costs and maximising both value and returns on properties. Good market practices will result in consist sales and purchases. Market incentives only come through because the players have defined a purposeful existence of this market.

Such developments may probably not be appealing to some, but when competitors stream into the market, agents behaving unethically or taxes are increased on the practice, then these measures would come in handy.

A lot is left unmentioned but in order to secure a vibrant real estate, we need the authority, joint market, statutes to compete regionally, protect investors and the public.

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