To Buy, Build or Rent in Africa

To buy, build or rent in Africa: Which is the most viable option?

Many starting out on the road to homeownership do have a decision to make when it comes to buying, building, or keep renting for the foreseeable future.

Whatever one opts for, it is a big financial decision. So it’s important to get it right. This article aims to help you with this decision.

Africa is a continent of many different cultures, economies and landscapes. In Africa, you can find yourself in a bustling city now, and trekking through the jungle or desert moments later. If you are looking for that perfect place to call a home or have a property for investment, it is advisable to put in the time to learn about your options in the real estate market.

As is often the case when starting out on a new journey, one must consider the most important factors. Costs, lifestyle and finding something you can settle with ease. A place to call home is more than about affordability; it’s about your family’s future too.

Also, remember that homeownership comes with many responsibilities. It is not just owning a roof over your head. It comes with upkeep, maintenance, repair and other costs.

Many people choose to build their own homes while there are those that buy ready-made homes. Most say the same thing: it’s a lot of hard work, but in the end, you have something that will last for years.

Building your own home means you can choose exactly what you want. All this depends on your budget. Your own home has the potential to grow with you as your family expands or needs change.

Then there are people who would never build because it’s too much hassle. There are few things in life that are stress-free. Buying a ready-made home – or having one built for you can be one of those things.

If you are on a budget, it is wise to look at rental options before committing yourself businesswise. We all know how expensive housing can be in some major African cities.

But what about countries where home prices are much more affordable? Well, this very much depends on your local area, the city you live in and its’ surrounding towns.

These are some crucial questions when starting out:

  • What is my goal for this type of venture (income generating, permanent resident, or temporary abode)?
  • What is the size and type of house I want?
  • Do you plan on having children? If so, are you better of in a single family home or an apartment complex setting?
  • Can I afford the monthly mortgage and maintenance fees?
  • What is my financial and employment situation, do I have a steady income that can support this property type?
  • Does my job need me to be near an airport or other major city. How far away from my work place, am I willing to live?
  • What kind of neighborhood do you want your children living in?

Let’s go over these 3 options, Renting, Buying or Building.


The low renting costs in Africa make renting an attractive option for someone starting out. It is ideal for those unable to afford building or buying.


It’s also an option if one is unsure of what they want but still want some flexibility over how long they stay in a place.

Renting gives you many options of properties in the market to pick from. If it’s a short-term or temporary solution that you are looking for then renting could be your best bet. It is often much cheaper than buying or building.

Another benefit of renting is being able to move out anytime without any penalties. This can depend on contract terms.

This makes it very attractive when one has an uncertain future.

You also don’t need to worry about repairs – this is often times the landlord’s responsibility.

There are also low costs associated with renting. This makes it an attractive option for someone starting out. And if one is unsure of what they want but still want some flexibility then renting could be your best bet.

Renting comes with certain restrictions. This depends on the agreement terms. For example, some places do not allow pets and don’t allow fixtures or adjustments.


Buying a house is a great investment if you have the means to do so. There are many benefits to buying your own house.

House keys and a scale model of a house

Prices of homes vary to a large extent. So before you buy your house, it’s worth doing some research beforehand to find out what options there are within your budget.

You don’t want to end up with an expensive mortgage that will put too much of a strain on your finances.

Buying a property requires some significant capital upfront. However, it offers a more stable long-term solution. It’s the most viable option if looking for a quick transition towards a permanent setting.

Buying requires one to have a significant amount of money if it’s an outright buy. This is common in many parts of Africa where mortgages are not common or accessible with much ease. If it is a mortgage, a down payment is still required, which is a percentage of the total value of the property.

Consider current mortgage rates if you are not able to purchase a house using cash. However, take note that interest rates may be quite high, and can fluctuate at any time during the mortgage term. This is usually in line with the Central bank rate of any country.

When buying, it’s important to research what your taxes may include so as not to get any unpleasant surprises at tax time. This could also make your investment go over budget in the long run.

However, buying comes with its benefits. You will own your house after paying for it in full. Unlike renting, you have the freedom to do what you want with the property to suit your needs or design tastes.

Buying is also a good option when one wants to settle in a place on a permanent basis. And if you can afford it and plan on staying for a long while, it’s best to consider buying your own house.


Tired of having to deal with landlords? Want to build a place that suits your family’s needs and desires in every way?

Building a home

Building is the answer. Building a property takes time and money. But you’ll feel great when you’re able to look at the home and say “this is my house”. Not only that, think about all the control and flexibility you’ll have.

To decide if building is the right choice, you have to consider factors like; Location, budget, preferences, time constraints, local construction conditions and expected returns on investment.

These are all important things to consider before making any decisions.

If you want more control over how your property looks then construction is, without a doubt, the way to go.

The benefits of building your own home include having complete ownership over the layout, design and décor of your house.

Constructing your own house comes with a great amount of flexibility. You will be able to do whatever you want with your property. From picking out the house plan to including every feature right from the foundation up.

You’ll also have the freedom to make changes in the future if you ever need or want to.

As with buying, building is a significant financial investment, but one that will be worth it in the long term.

Building is possible if you have time and as well as a sizeable amount of money to start out. The cost of building in Africa is still quite high, and varies according to country.

There are risks involved with building as well. Like any other development project, there’s no guarantee that it will be ready in the expected time. It may also exceed initial costs, and redoing fixtures due to errors can also be quite costly.

However, constructing your own house gives you many opportunities that renting cannot give you. It is an investment that will be worth it if done right

A summary of some of the crucial factors to consider:

CostsRelatively cheaper than building from scratch in some situationsThe most affordable Costly since associated costs tend to be high
How long do you plan to live in the same placeBest suited if you are ready to settle downBest suited if you are living a nomadic lifeBest suited if you are ready to settle down
Job securityThis depends greatly on your employment & financial positionDoes not depend much on your employment situationDepends on your employment & financial situation
FlexibilitySome flexibility to make a few changesNo flexibility to make changes unless permitted by the landlordComes with a lot of flexibility to make changes
Factors that influence Buying, Renting or Building

As seen in the article, there are many factors to consider when thinking about whether you should build, rent or buy a home. The real estate market is seeing a high demand as a result of the growing middle class. With the ability to afford decent housing through buying, building or renting.

The more you are willing to invest in your home, the better it will be. Conduct thorough research before committing to any property deal!

Different people will make different choices depending on their needs. Yet, there is no wrong choice as long as you are happy with the outcome. It often comes down to what you’re looking for and how much you can afford.

As the old saying goes, “Knowledge is Power”. To make an informed decision on which option is best for you, you will need to gather insight. The choice comes down to deciding which trade-offs suit you best.

Whether this is an investment property, a temporary or permanent home. Either way, remember research and preparation always comes in handy. You will be able to make wise and informed decisions.

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