Land Prices More than Double in Gulu

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The prices of land in Gulu have shot up in the past months following the elevation of the Municipality to a city. Gulu attained city status on July 1, 2020, alongside Arua, Jinja, Mbale, Mbarara, Masaka and Fort Portal. Landowners believe that since Gulu is now a city, it has many opportunities such as the growth of real estate, which has the potential of attracting prices for land. 

Others argue that a city depends on infrastructure like schools, shopping malls, roads, houses, offices, arcades, bus terminals, commercial buildings and apartments among other amenities that drive demand and price for the land. As a result, the price of land in the city and its surrounding areas have picked up in the past months.

Samuel Otto, a real estate broker and resident of Patiko Sub County in Gulu district, notes that the price of land both within and outside the city has more than doubled within the past six months. He says in some areas within the district, a plot of land that used to go for Shillings 1m now costs Shillings 2.4 million. Whereas an acre of land in places about six kilometers from the city center used to cost Shillings 3 million six months ago it now costs Shillings 12 million. 

Otto explains that the increase in land prices is a result of high demand as many people who live within the city make plans to build and settle in the suburbs when the development of the city picks up pace.  

Godfrey Odokonyero, another land and real estate broker in Gulu town, notes that a commercial plot of 15 x 30 feet which used to cost Shillings 100 million now costs Shillings 250 million and a residential plot measuring 30×40 feet now costs Shillings 350 million. 

In senior quarters, a plot of land measuring 30×40 feet goes for between Shillings 200 million and 300 million. In areas about 2 kilometers from the city center, a plot of land measuring 30×40 feet is 35 million or more depending on how developed the area is. 

According to Odokonyero, the increase in the price of land has not matched the sales. He attributes the low sales to the coronavirus pandemic, which affected people’s businesses, savings and investments.   

He notes that for now, buyers are going for land, which has been taken by banks after their owners defaulted on loans. He says such land tend to have lower prices as banks rush to recover their money. 

Bonny Payira, owns a 15×30 feet commercial plot along Cemetery Road in Gulu City.  Payira says he put up his plot for sale two months ago at Shilling 700 million after consulting a property valuer. According to Payira, the valuer helped him set the price of his property based on his neighbour who sold a similar plot at Shillings 400 million two years ago.   

He notes that potential buyers are willing to pay between Shillings 500-600 million but he is not willing to take the deal.  

David Aliker, a resident of Gulu City attributes the increase in land prices to what he calls “increasing internal migration,” where many people are relocating from other districts to Gulu because of the many business prospects the city presents.

“The people coming in have a stronger financial muscle or bigger business plans than the locals. For instance, an Indian comes and pays rent for a year, while a businessman from here would still want to pay for a month. Since the locals are finding it expensive to rent or buy land within the city, they are being forced to move to trading centers such as Unyama and Lacor, again, pushing the price of land in such areas up,” Aliker said.


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