RE: “Kigali’s real estate industry – crisis or opportunity” (The New Times, November 8).
Interesting thoughts. The writer suggests a pause of several years in new construction projects “to allow demand to catch up with the current supply”. This could possibly be argued for commercial development projects, but how do you reconcile this suggestion with the demand for affordable housing for the lower income market?
I think, from my layman’s perspective on this, the lower income and young professionals segment of the market is where Rwanda’s real estate fortunes lay. However, we seem focused on the upmarket residential and commercial property development.
Perhaps what is needed is a diversification of the real estate industry, i.e. a sensitisation on the different problems faced by property-seekers, which can be solved to tremendous profit.
Affordable housing is one problem that could be tackled with highly profitable solutions (e.g. affordable 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom apartment blocks, rent/lease-to-own programmes, specially tailored financing facilities), but also parking (especially in Kigali) is a rising problem, which could present another lucrative facet of real estate development.
Another development opportunity in Rwandan real estate – and perhaps this one might be more easily achieved on the outskirts of the city and beyond – is commercial entertainment development projects, e.g. amusement parks, go-kart tracks, indoor and outdoor gaming facilities etc.
Personally, I think there is much more opportunity than crisis in Rwandan real estate, but only if we can look beyond the upmarket housing and offices categories.