Uganda's property boom has led to an upsurge of real estate brokers capitalising on a rush to buy. But as Shanade James reports, shadow players and amateur brokers are also trying to cash in - leaving buyers at the mercy of unscrupulous practice.
Uganda is enjoying a boom in its housing industry. As the population mushrooms, the rising middle classes are scrambling for real estate. Driving up land prices in the capital. (SOUNDBITE) (English) VINCENT AGABA, REAL ESTATE AGENT SAYING "Real estate is an area whereby you can invest money and be able to keep money in that area without you being required to be there full time. So I'll be working in job "x" and be able to have money "y" and be able to put it in a piece of land it can't require me to be there on a daily basis." In some parts of Kampala, the cost of land soared by a third. These attractive profits luring in amateur brokers hoping to make quick money. But little regulation means unassuming buyers may be exploited. (SOUNDBITE) (Luganda) MWEBEMBEZE ISAH, HOUSE BROKER, SAYING "Most of them are thugs, they are not brokers. When they pass by a house and realize it is vacant, they will go looking out for people in need of premises. They will engage the person as a broker and claim to know a vacant premise and lie about how the vacant premise belongs to their relatives." There are calls to clean up the industry for fear of the negative impact. (SOUNDBITE) (English) VINCENT AGABA, REAL ESTATE AGENT SAYING "If the players in the land transactions are really left half-hazard, it's not only a threat to people being conned and robbed of their money, it is also a threat to the whole economic fibre." Uganda's housing market grew by 6 percent between 2009 and 2014. A shortage in housing alongside demands for more controls could mean that the boom has a long way to go before it's fair for all.