Abode abroad?

Be it apartments or standalone homes, one criterion that expats do not negotiate is outdoor space, finds Nishitha Shrivastava

“Expats moving with families tend to prefer standalone houses or town villas, as opposed to single people, who look for apartments. But there is one feature that is common in their criteria, and that is outdoor space. Most expatriates love to have either a nice simple balcony or garden, for relaxation,” says Colin Jr. Nahamya, real estate consultant, CCImpex Agencies Ltd, who has been in realty for five years.
According to Nahamya, expats tend to rent, due to the transient nature of work. He also adds that most expats tend to move around July to September, since new work contracts begin around that time and also, existing expats think this is an opportunity to find better and probably cheaper housing. For famiies this also fits with the beginning of the international school year.
Monica Mulindwa Lub, who co-owns MOWIN Properties with her daughter Lynn Winfred Nakajubi, has been in the realty business for 32 years. With her industry experience and communication skills, it comes as little surprise that she is a favoured agent among expats.

“There has been an exponential increase in expats renting, because more companies and embassies have expats coming into Uganda, since the last 15 years. In terms of buying, expats used to buy more in the past. Properties were more affordable; vendors (home owners) were not as ‘greedy’. There has also been an influx of unprofessional ‘agents’ and conmen, who cheat unsuspecting prospective property buyers. This has scared most expat buyers, even indigenous ones actually. Even lawyers, meant to check out the authenticity of paperwork of properties, are conmen,” warns Monica.

Rebecca Kamugungunu, communications manager at Jumia House (formerly Lamudi) for almost 2 years now, has noticed that a number of expats are permanently investing in the real estate sector, with some buying and others selling properties, both commercial and residential, even land.
Speaking about preferred locations, Kamugungunu says, “Most expats prefer areas near the Central Business District (CBD) due to the amenities close by- schools, hospitals and malls, such as Kololo, Naguru, Bugolobi, Nakasero and Mbuya. These areas are convenient, accessible and secure. However, with expats looking to buy properties, we see them searching as far as Buziga, Munyonyo and Muyenga. This can be due to the fact that these places are quiet, have great views, and are not close to the CBD.

According to Nahamya, there is high demand for Kololo, because of its easy accessibility to most amenities.
“It has a generous supply of almost everything, from the now popular Acacia Mall and Kisementi area, numerous entertainment spots, inter-continental restaurants, hotels and posh office space. Kololo may lack a big market, but Prunes makes up for that with its Saturday market. Almost 90 per cent of the expats I have met would live in Kololo if they found the right property there,” he states.

Elucidating rents around these areas, Lynn Winfred Nakajubi, of MOWIN Properties, says, “In prime areas, i.e. Nakasero and Kololo, rents range between US$2500-8000 (or more, depending on the size of the house and what it offers). Areas such as Bugolobi, Mbuya, Naguru could range between $2000-4500; Mutungo and Portbell between $1500-2800; Naguru homes range between $1700-4500; Muyenga, Kansanga, Kisugu, Bunga, Gaba, Munyonyo houses range from $800-2200. If it is more than this, usually a home is either bigger, has a pool/sauna/steam or is on the lake front or is furnished. Nsambya has the most affordable homes that usually are between $750-1500; Makindye homes range between $1500-2300; Lubowa homes range between $1200-2850 and Ntinda homes range between $1000-2300.

Rebecca Kamugungunu: rebecca.kamugungunu@jumia.com or 0800226834
Colin Jr. Nahamya, CCimpex Agencies Ltd, info@ccimpex.com 0778937472