Build low cost housing units, government told

As Uganda struggles with the challenge of housing shortage, especially in the urban areas, which now stands at over two million units, real estate experts have advised government to invest in low cost homes to meet the ever increasing demand.
Uganda, like other African countries, is challenged with making housing affordable for the growing population.
Even with the fall in property prices, housing still remains unaffordable to the bigger population.
Addressing stakeholders during his visit to Uganda recently, the world President, International Real Estate Federation, (FIABCI), Walid Moussa, said government should enact laws that would help the real estate sector grow.

Moussa, together with the FIABCI President for Africa, Joseph Akhigbe, said transparency and legislation were some of the bottlenecks to the development of the real estate sector in Africa.
“We have to think seriously about what an affordable housing is. We can do this by removing taxation, giving some land for the development of affordable housing and maximizing the available land by changing the way we build,” Moussa said.
According to him, investors should also be given incentives like acquiring permits in record time possible.

The Association of Real Estate Agents (AREA) Uganda President, Shirley Kongai, said lack of legislation and enforcement of the various laws that affect the sector, has driven speculation in the real estate, property prices, land conflicts, fraud and unplanned development across the country.
“The real estate sector has been growing at a rate of six percent despite the increasing housing demand, especially in the urban areas. Inspite of the high demand for housing, the cost remains relatively higher,” Kongai who was flanked by the AREA Uganda board members Arthur Mukembo, Lillian Kaddu and Charles Mwesige, said.

FIABCI President for African, Joseph Akhigbe, said Uganda, like other African countries, has a potential for real estate investment.

“Uganda’s real estate sector has a potential, and we want to put it and Africa on the map of foreign direct investments. You have to keep on fighting to have the right regulations and laws in place. One of our role would be to attract capital investment. But before that, there should be some lobbying,” Akhigbe said.

Hosted by AREA - Uganda, the professional organisation of real estate agents, property managers, developers and related real estate practitioners in Uganda, the real estate experts were in the country for a three day working visit to establish FIABCI Uganda chapter and to explore among others how FIABCI can collaborate with Uganda to bring the worldwide FIABCI network for large scale property and infrastructure development.
While in the country, Moussa and Akhigbe, held meetings with the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Planning officials.