RE: “Real estate development should cater for everyone” (The New Times, March 21).
I think it is a problem of top-down thinking. I realised that in Rwanda we want to build luxury housing for the bosses to move into, then the rest of us move into the old housing they vacated. RSSB should just take a loss, people resigned for these bad decisions but we still continue with the same mistakes, yet these houses will not fetch the unrealistic profits they want.
Put them on auction and raise money before they rot, or rent them affordably because even $100 is better than nothing and rotting away. Middle-class people need a housing ladder; we can either give everyone a raise or make housing affordable.
RSSB should have built housing like Umoja and Buru Buru estates in Nairobi, cheap affordable housing that is subsidized to offer a leg up so people have disposable income.
Realistically, you can’t really say $200k house is affordable in Rwanda — well, you are telling the top 1 per cent. Real estate industry needs to find something better but affordable. And that’s very possible. Once you boil a house down to cement and planks, all fundamentals units, magic happens. Costs plummet.
Now, I don’t know if I’m wrong or if the real estate in Rwanda is a monopoly which is taking advantage of people because of its unlimited market power. If it’s the latter, the answer would be government intervention to weaken the monopoly power and incentivize people to come in the real estate industry.
We can have better costs. $200,000 is out of control as far as an average or even almost any above average Rwandan is concerned.