Experts in Uganda wants affordable housing given top priority

Real estate experts have asked government to prioritise affordable housing to alleviate the current housing crisis in the country.

While addressing guests at the Buganda Investment Forum in Kampala recently, Knight Frank managing director, Ms Judy Rugasira, said much as the struggle to resolve the current housing crisis should be a product of a collaborative partnership between the private sector, government should formulate policies that will salvage the situation.

“Affordable housing programmes are not sustainable without the direct fiscal policy of government. If left to landlords alone, we shall never have affordable housing because their end goal is to make money,” she said.

According to the Uganda National Housing Policy (UNHP), affordable housing is housing for which the associated financial costs are at a level that does not threaten other basic needs and represents a reasonable proportion of household income.

With a population of 34m people living in 7.7m households, Uganda has a housing deficit of 1.6 million units according to UNHP and remains with a requirement of 200,000 units per year. However, only about 5,000 units are built per year as per ministry of Lands.

Ms Rugasira pointed out that attempts have been made to provide better housing but current house prices are very high and continue to rise between 10 to 15 per cent per year amidst low growth in household income.

Commenting on home ownership, Shelter Afrique managing director James Mugerwa, said instead of finding scarce finances for mortgages, government, should intervene in the rental market as 90 per cent of Ugandans cannot afford to buy a home.

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