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Real estate pandemic pain

Future outlook

The review notes that much as retail was quicker to rebound from the lockdown than any other property sector, the effects and impact will be felt for a long time to come.

“ There is an underlying level of uncertainty in the sector due to the negative possible effects of  increased import duties on a range of products particularly processed foods, which could dampen the potential growth of retail sales as the associated costs will be passed onto the consumer,” the review reads in part adding that ‘pent up spending after lockdown was short lived as consumers are still being cautious in their spending habits, whilst others are still avoiding “crowded” places which include shopping malls.”

The review also notes that an anticipated rebound in office activity expected in 2021/2022 on the back of much anticipated Final Investment Decision on oil production, coupled with anticipated rollout of COVID-19, will go a long way in improving performance of this sector.

Uganda’s government and oil companies are expected to reach the FID soon, paving way for the construction of oil and gas infrastructure ahead of production.

The report notes that office occupiers are still taking a cautious approach to office expansions even in response to social distancing requirements.

“Working from home and in shifts will continue through 2021 as employers and organisations establish and refine work place strategies that favour their employee’s welfare, health and safety,” the report says adding that, “traditional office space, however, remains the core of work and its environment, and is yet to be superseded by working from home, although some elements of flexible working will become normalized.”

The jury is still out as to whether 2021 will be a year of recovery from the total disruption and destabilization of the real estate sector in 2020,” the review adds.

Similarly, it is hoped that the speed with which the vaccine is acquired and administered, will also play a big impact in curtailing the spread of the virus, and enabling a faster return to some semblance of normalcy all things remaining the same, and no new variants to further complicate the situation.

“We can only wait in hope, as we do our best to stay safe,” the review notes.

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