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WHY SHOULD INVEST IN REAL ESTATE IN UGANDA

There are many people out there telling you not to invest in real estate because as they say it’s a lazy man’s business. Am here to give you a different opinion about the subject.

 

If you are to retire in Uganda, you need a real estate portfolio.  At least 25% of your portfolio must be in real estate. Because real estate doesn’t depreciate, and it can act as a cushion whenever the other streams of income begin staggering.

 

In Uganda to retire comfortably, you should have an asset portfolio that is 150 times (150x) your monthly expenses. (For example If your monthly expenses are Ugx 5M, your portfolio should be Ugx.750M)

 

When you invest in Government paper (Treasury bonds, Governement bonds, etc.) you are betting on the stability of the Ugandan economy!

General areas of savings/investments/wealth creation:

  1. Business
  2. Real estate
  3. TBs, Govt bonds, unit trusts, etc.
  4. Long term savings funds

Uganda has a ‘snooping’ problem. If you receive or have ‘substantial’ money on your bank account, the Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA), Bank of Uganda, Banks, etc., will always peep into your account and sometimes ask prying questions. Real estate is a good place to store money.

 

Financial analysis shows that Rental units (mizigos) outperform TBs.

 

For construction of rental units (mizigos), look for cheap land, Kabaka’s land is a good option. Or buy rental units in places that are developing with middle income populaitons like naalya, Kira, Namugongo or else where you are sure accommodation is on high demand.

 

 

The challenge of building ‘affordable’ housing in Uganda is the high cost of land. Land is overpriced in Uganda. The cheaper one is again far from the city so leaving you with no optiin that buying around the city.

The best  real estate strategy: personal developments are for rental, business developments are for sell.

 

Always follow the 1% rule in real estate purchase or development. The monthly return of a development or acquisition should be, at the very least, 1% of the cost of development or acquisition. However When a rental property has more than 2 bedrooms, the 1% rule for real estate investing stops working.

 

Real estate income does not depreciate the asset. Instead, the asset appreciates with time. Unlike other assets like trucks, properties appreciate in value annually they will never depreciate atleast not in Uganda.

 modern house

Real estate investments help one use up ‘excess’ or ‘idle’ cash which might have otherwise been wasted in consumption. Many times money is wasted because its present, however if injected into real estate you are saving the money and at the same time multiplying it.

Take note, when building commercial properties for sell, you are not building your own house. So, tamper down on exquisite, posh, or high quality finishings, just build what is functional.  Build and include the major amenities ofcourse not substandard but avoid the overly exotic and expensive. This might make the price of the property shoot up and scare the potential buyers.

Acquaint yourself on the new taxes that now apply to real estate.

To sustain a middle-income lifestyle in the Kampala metropolitan region, your asset portfolio should be at least Ugx.1bn.

 

Endeavour to create wealth and have good assets. Net worth is critical.

A good real estate strategy is a 30-year strategy. Don’t be quick to sell, Buy to hold.

Get your financing right, you won’t have pressure to sell. Ensure you have other streams that bring in cash. This way you will only sell when the price is right but if you have a low cashflow stream circumstances will force you to sell inorder to survive.

When you build, you are manufacturing a long-lasting asset.

 

The informal economy is good at pricing.

 

It is difficult to make money within the 10km (from the Kampala Post Office) area. The property prices are high, and the returns might not justify the investment. Aim for beyond 15km, there are good deals in this area.   

 

When building rentals, consider your market and their needs, e.g., road access, parking slots, access to public transport, etc.

 

Be hyper focused in one area. Supervision and maintenance can be a challenge if your developments are in many locations. Its wise to erect one structure at a time unless you have strong systems that will help you surpive the estates.

 

 

40% of global GDP is in real estate. Are you opposing those people, or you think they are not smart?

 

 

Favourite ‘sweet spot’ is 12 units of 2 bedrooms, in this ‘zone you can take advantage of construction economies of scale. Another favourite ‘sweet spot’ is, 1 bedroom, 1sitting room joined with a small kitchen, 1WC & shower at Ugx.400k rent.

Once you understand your trade, you manage your risks better.

Types of Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITS); income REITS – for rent, and development REITS for sell.

Uganda’s REITS sector is still underdeveloped because it is governed by the 1930 Trust Law, under which law, a founder cannot run a trust for more than 6 years, a founder is unable to ‘own’ a trust, a founder can easily lose control, etc., this scenario creates no incentives for prospective founders to start up REITS.

Do not build a trust on your own money.

Don’t borrow money to construct the shell of a property.

A home is a social and an economic good. Build a home you can afford.

Do not build a home beyond your budget. This is the reason several people build over a ‘long’ period of time.

There is a period for creating wealth and a period for grounding wealth. De-risk your model.

The talk that instead of building a home go and start a business does not work for everyone. Business is tough. Not everyone can start a business. But everyone needs a home.

 

The illusion of Uganda – because of our low wage structure, everyone aspires to go and start a business to supplement wages. Business is tough, many people lose money in business.

The key to being successful is ‘live on less than you earn and invest the rest’.

Under slavery, a slave owner met all the needs and expenses of his slaves, food, water, clothing, shelter, medical, etc. Under the new ‘dispensation’, an employer gives an employee a salary to make payments on his/her behalf, e.g., food, water, clothing, shelter, etc. An employee should ‘rig’ the system by paying himself/herself by saving a part of his/her salary.

 

No one pays you enough to escape ‘slavery’.

Capitalism rewards capital, not wages.

No one can get rich on their own money. Be comfortable using other people’s money.

Every time you take debt, it should reflect as an asset on your balance sheet.

Debt is bad when it is consumption debt.

Capital is built on relationships. People must be comfortable giving you their money. Be a person whose word can be trusted. You must have skin in the game.

Raising capital, sources – friends, family, and fools.

As an entrepreneur, start by managing the little you have, and grow your circle of influence.

Many people don’t have a strategy. What are you targeting? How much money do you want to have at retirement or by what age? Etc.

When you live a middle-class lifestyle on a pay cheque, you’re in trouble. You need to build a portfolio.



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P.O. Box: 0000 Kampala, Uganda
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