In Mbarara city, there seems to be a mad rush for land. The price for plots has almost doubled; for example a 50x100 plot of land that was priced between Shs20-30m is now priced between Shs50-100m. On the contrary though, in the outskirts, the neighboring areas off the city center in areas such as Masha Sub County in Isingiro district, Bubaare and Rubaya in Mbarara district or Bugamba in Rwampara district, a similar plot could be sold at Shs5m.
What does this mean?
Robert Akandonda, a real estate dealer in Mbarara, explains that in the end, quality of land is usually measured by its proximity to social services and a conducive surrounding environment.
This means that the closer to the city setting, the higher the cost of land and the reverse is true.
Staying further from city centres is not daunting as many make it seem; for instance, the cost of living in cities is relatively high compared to areas off the city grid.
Akandonda says most people lack awareness and thus believe life starts and ends in the city centre.
“Most people buying land need to get advice, they need to be told that a difference of 100 metres can’t make you reject a place,” he says adding that most people while buying land fail to compromise by insisting on purchasing a specific type of land.
Akandonda says that land bought outside city centres can also be multi-purpose, he argues that one may not worry about developing it immediately especially if they don’t have a budget.
Many have noted though that besides being able to do other things on the land, especially in areas where the demand for land is not high, it may be easier for an ambitious land owner to expand since people are willing to sell, yet there are no buyers.
For many that fancy living near the city though, Akandonda says they can still buy land away from the city centre since the city keeps expanding.
“As said earlier, when you purchase land outside the city setting, with enough money you can expand ,” he says adding that since the city keeps expanding thanks to the development of different areas, one can resell the land bought cheaply after some years at a very high price.
A farmhouse maybe
He says one of the things a person can do with his undeveloped land could be urban planning.
Growing crops or starting livestock farms is one way many people are keeping land they are yet to develop busy. With a project in progress, it is easy to safeguard the land from possible land grabbers and, of course, forge a livelihood in the process.
But the most exciting thing one could get out of their land outside the urban centre could be a farmhouse. It is a type of house that has residential purposes with an agricultural setting.
With many corporates adding farming to their CVs, a farmhouse could bring the whole puzzle together, especially for many that can’t even spend a night at the place where they have a farm.
Musa Asingwire for instance owns some plots in Rukuba,in Masha Sub county, just a few kilometers from Mbarara city; he uses it for growing flowers and vegetables but says he earns between Shs300,000-350,000 a month which translates into between Shs3.6 – 4.2m a year. With this income, Asingwire is assured of utilising it to develop his plots besides meeting his other basic needs.