Uganda

Condos a possible solution to the housing challenge
Daily Monitor
By Edgar R. Batte
12 January 2017

Construction is one of the most expensive ventures for an average Ugandan. Sometimes saving for your dream house means some good years.

Under the condominium law, you can own the apartment you live in but share other amenities such as parking, walkways, driveways and elevators with the occupants of others apartments.    Photo by Faiswal Kasirye

In Summary
With the current housing deficit, houses that are affordable to the average Ugandan would be the solution and some real estate dealers have decided to venture into condominiums.

Construction is one of the most expensive ventures for an average Ugandan. Sometimes saving for your dream house means some good years. Banks and real estate companies could be the alternative to achieving that home through taking out a loan or mortgage.

But given the high interest rates and exorbitant prices in the real estate industry, one is left with a financial burden either way. Somehow, affordable housing in Uganda remains mythical.

This has contributed to the high numbers that highlight the deficit in the housing sector. It is estimated that Kampala has a housing shortfall of approximately 530, 000 houses. This could shoot to 2.1m household shortage in 10 years’ time. This has prompted real estate developers to come up with different ideas and the condominium is one of these.

Housing units
Barefoot Lawyers, an online Legal Service Provider in East Africa, defines a condominium as one of a group of housing units where each homeowner owns their individual unit space, and all the dwellings share ownership of areas of common use.

“The main difference between condos and regular single homes is that there is no individual ownership of a plot of land. All the land in the condominium project is owned jointly by all the homeowners as is the case with Bugolobi and Bukoto flats,” they explain.

Condos in Uganda are regulated by the Condominium Property act 2001 which allows for one to have a land title for a specific housing unit( condo) within a building (e.g flat).

The online lawyers observe that before this law came into force, one was only able to purchase the entire flat, but not individual units within the flat.

Pros
In an earlier interview, Ivan Niyonzima, the proprietor of Property Services Ltd, explained that one could have preferred to live in a given environment such as Kololo or Muyenga, but have limited by funds to buy land and construct a stand-alone house. The quick solution, he says, is to buy condominiums. He says for the investors, it provides for a quick sale of the properties and yet with high returns on a small scale property.
He says it has price competitiveness, especially for real estate agencies, provides for shared built-in amenities, and convenient locations and designs and better land utilisation.

How it works
According to Shabbir Tayabali, one of the directors at Aqeeq (U) Limited, which has ventured into condos, they have already tested the market though not adequately but are optimistic that Ugandans can buy into the idea of owning homes in a condominium setting.

He explains, “Under the arrangement, you can have a one self-contained bedroom, open-plan kitchen, sitting room and dining room on 40 square metres at Shs53m, a two-bedroom with the same amenities on 63.73 square metres at Shs115m and three-bedroom on 79.52 square metres at Shs130m.

“For the price, you will be provided with a condominium title deed, transfer form, sales agreement and approved site plans through our legal partners Sebalu & Lule advocates,” Haidry Qusai, another director at Aqeeq (U) Limited, explains.

The above mentioned units are part of their third phase called Waves, in Kungu, located between Kyanja and Najeera 2. The first two were Endotto in Sseguku and Endotto second phase which is also in Kungu.
For now, the payment plan is by cash though Tayabali says they will consider Memorandum of Understands (MoUs) with buyers. “We are an interest-free company.

That is why we cannot afford to advertise our apartments on billboards or on conventional media. We cannot afford it. We would like to promote the philosophy of affordable housing. The idea is yet to sink in with Ugandan because they like a lot of space,” Tayabali further explains.

He adds, “This might not be your dream home but we are offering you the first step to owning a home. The average Ugandan takes 15 years to be able to build their first house.”

Cons
Condominiums are an expensive venture, which require huge funds. For instance, the average cost of a three bedroom condominium apartment goes for shillings 250m to shillings 300m ($69,000–$83,000 USD) in most upscale areas around Kampala.


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