New Era (Windhoek)

27 November 2012

Namibia: Making Property Education Accessible

Municipalities need to accelerate the delivery of serviced land and government needs to embrace the role of property developers, including the National Housing Enterprise (NHE) and Build Together programme, as well as banks.

This could alleviate the housing backlog by providing appropriate support to local authorities.

This is the opinion of Nanyemba Katamba, a real estate agent and University of Namibia (Unam) graduate, who has published a book titled: "Climbing the Property Investment Ladder in Namibia."

Katamba says he decided to write the book after realising there is hardly any relevant information available on property investment published by Namibians for the general public.

"I therefore see this book as an educational resource or guide for those who want to venture into property investment," explained Katamba, who once lost a house due to a default judgement but bounced back to now own numerous properties.

The first time author says the book is meant for everyone, particularly young professionals, property enthusiasts, current and would-be homeowners, existing and future property developers, and students. "The idea is for these groups to share their experiences and successes in the area of property investment," he said.

The 113-page book is divided into seven very useful chapters. The first chapter focuses on Katamba's first-hand experience in buying property while chapter two looks at the functions of property, property cycles, the importance of financial planning and budgeting, and the nine steps in property investments.

The remaining chapters highlight strategies to increase the value of property, the role of various professionals, property prices and where to invest in Namibia. "The book is not trying to be prescriptive but rather to create an opportunity for readers to expand their knowledge and hopefully apply it when making long-term financial decisions and venturing into property investment," explained Katamba.

He says reading the book should make people realize that the family home is an investment, though by default. This means it (the family home) was most likely purchased as shelter for the family but can be a great investment if well taken care of and maintained.

"My good friend once told me, 'it's not what you know, but rather what you don't know that keeps you backward.' I hope this book will serve as an eye-opener to Namibians and help them optimize the benefits they can derive from investing in the property market," explained Katamba.

According to Katamba, the biggest challenge in the Namibian property market today has to do with the fact that demand and supply are not in equilibrium.

"This means you have an ever-increasing high demand for low and middle income categories and a very low supply, resulting in abnormal price increases," he said. The availability of serviced land, he said, remains critically low, adding that he hopes municipalities and local authorities will mobilize resources to service land for the development of properties for both residential and commercial purposes.

"In addition, I also want to mention something that I believe is very important but is not receiving a lot of attention. This is the issue of financial planning and budgeting, which in turn affects affordability for most Namibians. We all need to realize that unless we begin to live within our means and start saving, achieving financial freedom will remain a distant dream," he further said.

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