Collecting Data for Affordable Housing in Uganda

Time for an Open Data Revolution in Affordable Housing in South Africa argues, persuasively, for the need for open data to transform the housing and finance sectors in South Africa, and the difficulties of providing affordable housing finance without such data. Across Africa, data specific to the housing sector is often not collected or is rarely accessible. Part of CAHF’s mission is to make this data more available, for example, through supporting initiatives such as Hofinet. Data is essential in expanding the capacity of the financial sector to invest across the housing delivery value chain.

In Uganda, there is an initiative to provide the required data: since 2011, the Bank of Uganda (BoU), with the Ugandan Bureau of Statistics (UBOS), has collected data on the real estate sector, which it publishes through its Financial Stability Reports (FSR). The initiative included the creation of property price indices: a Land Price Index, a Residential Property Price Index and a Commercial Rent Index. The BoU has also said that it is planning to compile other important statistics (it has recently made it compulsory for all banks to report average loan-to-value ratios for mortgages). And, in time, it hopes to do this on a wider scale—for the time being, the data collected is restricted to Kampala and surrounds.

The data shows a real estate sector undergoing strong, steady growth, and subject to drastic increases in the price of property. Real estate activities were an average of 5.8% of GDP, growing at an annual average rate of 6%, between June 2008 and June 2014. In terms of housing finance, real estate makes up the largest share of bank lending at 23.2% of total bank loans in June 2014, from 15.1% in June 2008, over half of which were residential and commercial mortgages. Property prices are increasing sharply: the cost of land in the greater Kampala area increased by 33.6% between June 2013 and June 2014, which is lower than the 84.6% increase between June 2012 and June 2013. While residential property prices increased 103.6% between March and June 2013, slowing to 31.0% rise between June 2013 and June 2014.

The collection and compilation of this data marks an important step in the right direction for the affordable housing market in Uganda. As the BoU—with UBOS and the private sector—collects more data, it can assist the players in the housing sector in their efforts to improve affordability of housing and housing finance. And, as its financial and housing markets develop, the liberation of data could have a significant impact on investor interest and the development Uganda’s affordable housing market.

The document is for June 2014 Financial Stability Report of the Bank of Uganda, the most recent report that is publically available. Bank of Uganda’s statistics page contains additional information.

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