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Should You Build Rentals to Sell or Rent Them Out in Uganda?



Uganda’s real estate market has been experiencing significant growth in recent years, driven by a housing deficit that is expected to reach 3 million units by 2030. For those considering investing in real estate through rental apartments, a crucial decision awaits: should you build these properties to sell or rent them out for long-term income? In this blog post, we’ll explore the factors that can help you make an informed decision.

Market Analysis:

The housing deficit in Uganda is a pressing issue, estimated to be between 2.1 million and 2.4 million housing units. With a population of approximately 37.7 million and an average household size of five people, the demand for housing is substantial. In the capital city, Kampala, 7 out of 10 households rent their dwellings, making the rental market a prominent part of the real estate landscape. Notably, 6 out of 10 apartments in Uganda are one-room houses, commonly known as “Mizigo.”

Financial Analysis:

Accessing mortgage financing in Uganda remains a challenge, with only 1 percent of Ugandans having access to this option. Rental pricing plays a pivotal role in the decision-making process. According to experts, Ms. Baziwe suggests that affordable rental prices for households typically range between UGX 50,000 to 100,000. Meanwhile, Mr. Agaba, the former president of the Real Estate Agents Association, notes that dominant rentals range from UGX 100,000 to 250,000, with higher-end properties rented between UGX 300,000 and 450,000. People who can afford more often prefer to build their own houses.

Legal and Regulatory Information:

The Ugandan real estate market has faced challenges due to a lack of sufficient legal framework. However, the new Tenants Bill 2023 aims to address these issues. With the new bill, both landlords and tenants can expect clearer guidelines and dispute resolution mechanisms, potentially improving the rental market’s stability.

Location Considerations:

When deciding whether to build rentals for sale or long-term rental income, location is key. Market research is essential to identify target demographics. For example, single houses tend to thrive in city centers or near educational facilities, while 3-roomed houses with compounds are preferred in the outskirts of the city in areas like Nalya, Namugongo, and Entebbe.

Pros and Cons:

Building Rentals to Sell:

  • Pros: Immediate lump-sum profit, reduced involvement in property management.
  • Cons: Limited long-term income, potential capital gains tax.

Building Rentals to Rent Out:

  • Pros: Steady, long-term rental income, potential property appreciation.
  • Cons: Initial investment in property management, occasional vacancies.


Conclusion and Recommendations:

In conclusion, the decision to build rental properties in Uganda ultimately depends on your financial goals, risk tolerance, and market analysis. If you prioritize immediate profit and have a higher risk tolerance, selling may be the right choice. However, if you seek steady, long-term income and are willing to manage properties, renting them out could be more suitable.

It’s crucial to stay informed about legal changes, market trends, and location-specific factors when making this decision. With the new Tenants Bill 2023 addressing regulatory issues, the rental market may become a more attractive option for long-term investors.

Remember that both options have their merits, and it’s advisable to consult with real estate professionals and conduct thorough research before making your final decision.

Additional Resources:

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We are excited to announce that we have recently added prime plots of land in Mbarara, and we want to share the details with you.

The plots are located in Kyamugorani, Katete, Nkokonjeru, and Kanyankole, and they are available at competitive prices. We believe that these plots are an excellent investment opportunity for anyone looking to buy land in Mbarara.

Kyamugorani is a quiet and peaceful area that is perfect for anyone looking for a serene environment to build their dream home. The plots here measure 100×140 feet and prices start at just UGX 90 million(negotiable).

Katete is another great location for anyone looking to buy land in Mbarara. We have commercial plots measuring 50×100 feet and prices range between UGX 40- 80 millions(negotiable). With its proximity to the city center, Katete is an excellent location for anyone looking to build a commercial property.

Nkokonjeru is a fast-growing area that is ideal for anyone looking to invest in land. The plots here measure 100×100 feet and prices are between UGX 85- 100 million(negotiable). This is an excellent opportunity for anyone looking to build rental properties or invest in real estate.

Kanyankole is a beautiful and serene location that is perfect for anyone looking for a quiet place to build their dream home. The plots here measure 100×100 feet and prices start at just UGX 65 million. With its stunning views and peaceful environment, Kanyankole is an excellent location for anyone looking for a retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Please visit our offices at IQRA building, room F15, along Ntare road , Mbarara city.

Remember to visit our social media handles like twitter, facebook and instagram by searching Nembabazi Real Estate Ltd.



Mbarara is a town in southwestern Uganda and the capital of Mbarara District. It is located approximately 270 kilometers southwest of Kampala, the capital city of Uganda.

The origin of Mbarara is not entirely clear, but it is believed to have been inhabited by the Banyankole people for many centuries. The Banyankole are a Bantu-speaking ethnic group that is part of the larger Nilo-Saharan family. The Banyankole were primarily pastoralists and relied heavily on cattle for their livelihoods.

The name Mbarara is derived from the Runyankole word “emburara,” which means “plains” or “open grassland.” This is an apt name for the region, as it is characterized by expansive savannah grasslands.

Mbarara was historically part of the Ankole Kingdom, which was ruled by a monarch known as the “Omugabe.” The Ankole Kingdom was founded in the 15th century and was one of the most powerful kingdoms in the region. The kingdom was renowned for its cattle, which were highly prized throughout East Africa.

The first European explorers to visit Mbarara were the British explorers John Hanning Speke and James Grant in 1862. They were followed by missionaries from the Church of England, who established a mission in the area in the late 1800s. The missionaries played a significant role in the colonization of the region and were instrumental in introducing Christianity and western education to the local population.

Mbarara is situated at an altitude of 1,970 meters above sea level and has a relatively cool climate compared to other regions in Uganda. The terrain is mostly flat, with some hills and valleys in the surrounding areas. The region is known for its fertile soil and is a major agricultural hub, producing crops such as bananas, coffee, tea, and maize.

The population of Mbarara has been steadily growing over the years and is currently estimated at around 195,000 people. The growth rate is approximately 2.6% per year, which is slightly higher than the national average. The majority of the population is comprised of the Banyankole people, although there are also significant populations of other ethnic groups, including the Banyarwanda, Bakiga, and Bahima.

Mbarara is also home to several natural resources, including gold, limestone, and marble. These resources have the potential to drive economic growth in the region, although their exploitation has been limited thus far.

Investing in Mbarara City, one of the fastest-growing cities in Uganda, can be an excellent opportunity for investors looking for growth and profits. Mbarara City is strategically located in the central of western Uganda, a gateway to neighboring countries of Tanzania, Rwanda, DR Congo, and Burundi. Here are some reasons why one should consider investing in Mbarara:

Urban farming: Shrinking agricultural land due to the sale of land for residential/apartments, commercial houses, and business facilities like hotels and accommodation has made peri-urban lands a hotcake in Mbarara. Investing in urban farming can be an opportunity to feed the increasing population amidst shrinking agricultural land.

Similary, as more and more consumers become interested in organic and sustainably-produced food, there is an opportunity to start an organic farming business in Mbarara. You could focus on producing organic fruits and vegetables, or consider raising organic livestock.

Dairy processing: With its abundant supply of milk, Mbarara is an ideal location to start a dairy processing business. You could consider making and selling products such as cheese, yogurt, and butter, either under your own brand or as a supplier to other businesses.

Cottage industries: One can invest in cottage industries in Mbarara, such as making soap, textiles, furniture, candles, arts and crafts, and juice making. Countries like China have developed because of cottage industries. Cottage industries are key in improving household incomes and employment.

Transport: Investing in transport targeting people commuting to and from the developing areas to work in the city center would be ideal. Buses, Costas, taxis, and special hires can be profitable.

Real Estate: Areas that were predominantly large green open spaces covered with woodlands and farm land with scattered populations and considered remote for the poor and low class are being developed with visible traces of infrastructural development like roads. These areas have attracted increased attention due to competition for urban land usage. These areas are now being developed and similarly, the value and cost of land has greatly increased.

Waste management and cleaning services: The city dwellers will have no choice but hiring service providers to manage their garbage. The emerging infrastructural developments like offices, arcades, malls all these also would require someone to offer cleaning services.

Tourism and hospitality business: Mbarara city is surrounded by a host of tourist attractions that include Lake Mburo National park, Eclipse monument at Igongo, the Ankole long-horned cattle, River Rwizi, Ankole cultural site among others. But also the city is a center linking to countries like DRC Congo, Rwanda, and Burundi. So investing in hotels and accommodation can be another opportunity in Mbarara city.

Agro-processing: Mbarara is also a major center for crop production in Uganda. Consider starting an agro-processing business that focuses on turning raw crops into value-added products such as flours, oils, or spices. There are also opportunities to produce animal feed, which is in high demand in the region.

Restaurant or food stand: Given Mbarara’s rich agricultural production, there is ample opportunity to start a restaurant or food stand that focuses on locally-sourced ingredients. You could specialize in traditional Ugandan cuisine, or offer a more fusion-style menu that incorporates global flavors.

Tour guide service: Mbarara is situated in a region of Uganda that is rich in natural beauty and wildlife. Consider starting a tour guide service that takes visitors to see the area’s national parks, game reserves, and other attractions.

Mbarara is located in a region of Uganda that is known to have significant gold deposits, so starting a business related to gold mining and processing could be a promising opportunity. Here are a few ideas to consider:

Gold mining/Processing: The first step in starting a gold-related business would be to acquire mining rights and obtain the necessary permits and licenses. You could then consider hiring workers and purchasing equipment to extract the gold from the ground. Once you have extracted gold from the ground, you will need to process it to make it ready for sale. You could consider setting up a gold processing plant that cleans, separates, and refines the gold into bars or other forms for sale to buyers.

These are just a few ideas to get you started. As with any business, it’s important to conduct thorough research and analysis to determine what will work best for your specific circumstances and goals. Good luck!