Uganda: Experts Urge Govt to Invest in Condominiums

Real estate experts have implored Least Developed Countries (LDCs) like Uganda to build up a strong condominium housing sector that will create affordable housing and bridge the deficit in the country.

Condominium is a form of housing tenure system where part of a piece of real estate, usually of an apartment house is individually owned. Under the Condominium Property Act of 2012, a real estate development company can build apartments and sell them as is and give the buyer a title deed for his property the same way you would sell a house on a plot of land.

Speaking during his visit to Uganda recently, Walid Moussa, the world President, International Real Estate Federation (FIABCI), said governments should work with the private sector and create regulations and incentives for firms in the real estate sector.

Moussa emphasized the need for transparency, justice and legislation saying there should be no discrimination between local and foreign investors and that investors should be able to get work permits without the hassle of paying bribes.

"It is very important to regulate the sector, creating and having associations on board and then creating a FIABCI chapter that will link everybody on board. But after creating the regulations, it is important to apply it because having the regulations or law, and you don't apply them then it as good as having none," Moussa said during a meeting with real estate stakeholders in Kampala.

"We have to think seriously what affordable housing is. Affordable housing is allowing somebody to pay for a house easily. How can we do that? We can do this by removing taxation, giving some land for free or giving it at an affordable price and maximizing the land by changing the way you construct, from horizontal to vertical," Moussa said during a meeting with real estate stakeholders in Kampala.

Shirley Kongai, the Association of Real Estate Agents (AREA) Uganda President, said the real estate sector has been growing at a rate of six per cent despite the increasing housing demand, especially in urban areas.

"AREA Uganda has continued to note with concern the lack of legislation and enforcement of the various laws that affect the sector. The same has driven speculation in the real estate sector, property prices, land conflicts, fraud and unplanned development across the country," Kongai said.

Kongai said that in spite of the high demand for houses, the cost of housing remains unaffordable.

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