Experts in the housing sector have recommended to the government of Uganda, a number of steps that can be taken to address the rising cost of housing in the country.
The rising costs of housing according to the experts can be linked directly to the widening gap between housing units and the growing national population.
Uganda’s housing deficit is now estimated by recent reports at 2.4million units.
As such, most of the housing units on the market in the country are said to be unaffordable to the average Ugandan, as they go well above 30% of their household income.
Hilary Bamulinde, a city real estate developer and supply chain specialist, says government needs to take deliberate steps to attract more private players into the housing sector.
This he says, can be done by providing incentives that will make investment in cheaper housing less risky.
“Most players today are investing only in high end housing because customers there are employed in the formal sector and can afford mortgages and other forms of financing, unlike say, your ordinary bodaboda rider,” he said.
Bamulinde also says other government players such has the central bank, have to come in to ensure low lending rates through the CBR.
“This is where the government comes in; in developed countries affordable housing is primarily the responsibility of government. The government has to ensure extension of public amenities to new residential areas, such as roads, water, power, and even security. In the absence of these, private developers will not be attracted to such a place,” he said.
Mr Bamulinde was speaking on Wednesday during the Housing Finance Bank (HFB) Boss Talks Twitter Space series, which focused this time on affordable housing.
Speaking during the meeting, Mr J.B Kaweesi, the Head of Consumer Banking at HFB, said the bank has recently stepped up efforts to bridge the housing gap in the country, by providing a number of housing solutions targeting low income earners.
“We have for instance come up with an incremental housing loan which promotes construction in phases,” he said.
“We know that there are many people who have dreamt of owning a home but don’t have all the money needed. With this solution, you can borrow as low as Shs 200,000 to make small additions to your house such as roofing or building a toilet, instead of waiting to construction the whole house at once,” he said.
On his part, Peter Kalwanga, the Head of Business Analysis at HFB said the bank is now one of the biggest players in the housing sector, with many partnerships with other players including government institutions, private developers, land owners such as kingdoms and religious institutions, professionals, among others.