The commercial real estate market in the city of Kigali

Working paper Cities

City of Kigali commissioned a review of the Kigali Master Plan in 2018-2019, which was then conducted by urban planning company Surbana Jurong. As part of this review the City requested that a number of baseline studies are done to inform the review, of which this study, which covers commercial real estate, is one. The objective of the project is to present a range of important facts about commercial real estate in Kigali and nine commercial nodes within it for the first time, understand market confidence, analyse determinants of occupancy rates and rents, make some assessment of the impact of the 2013 Master Plan regulations on the commercial real estate sector, and propose policy directions that will achieve better market performance. In this study we sought to answer the following questions:

  • What are the important characteristics – including usage, height, age and location – of commercial real estate in Kigali?
  • What is the status of confidence in the commercial real estate market among owners and developers, and what issues do they raise that may need to be solved?
  • What are occupancy rates, and what drives them? Does 2013 Kigali Master Plan zoning have an impact on them?
  • What are rent levels, and what drives them? Likewise, does 2013 Kigali Master Plan zoning have an impact?
  • Taking these facts together, and drawing on other research, what policies would benefit or solve issues in the commercial real estate sector in Kigali?

For this study, we define commercial real estate as storied buildings located along main roads within the commercial centers and housing several business units including grocery, electrical, hardware shops, hotels, office premises for different services etc. These include shopping malls, arcades, shopping centers etc. Industrial buildings, wareshouses, apartments and rentals (for personal accommodation) were not included despite being business entities.