Skip to content
Home » Important Things to Know Before Buying a Property in Zambia as A Foreigner

Important Things to Know Before Buying a Property in Zambia as A Foreigner

  • by

Can foreigners buy a property in Zambia?

If the correct protocol is followed and any potential loopholes are verified, purchasing property in Zambia is a reasonably simple process that need not be complicated. The process should not be difficult at all whether you’re looking for land, farms, houses, or any other type of investment property in Zambia. If everything is outlined as agreed upon by all parties involved in writing, your home purchase should go smoothly.

The sole drawback is that foreigners cannot own property in Zambia unless they are citizens of the nation or are the owners of a local business.

South Africans who have started enterprises and purchased both commercial and residential properties make up a sizable portion of buyers. Many South Africans who purchased lodges in game parks are currently doing extremely well. Although they have not started buying vacation homes yet, South Africans also dominate the rental market, and we anticipate that will change shortly.

What type of property investments can foreigners buy in Zambia?

In Zambia, the land is divided into two categories: State land, which makes up 10% of the total area, and Customary land, which makes up the remaining 90% of the total area and is governed by traditional chiefs. Zambia uses the leasehold and customary tenure systems instead of the freehold system. When the land is surveyed, the former is granted for 99 years, and unsurveyed land, for 14 years.

Additionally, customary land might be turned into a leasehold. The tribe leader must first approve the declassification of the customary land. The local council oversees this process and designates the boundaries of customary land that are acceptable for a title. Then, to be sold as titled land, the President’s approval is needed. It may take up to six months to complete this later treatment. The land cannot be returned to customary tenure once customary rights have expired.

What are the limitations On Land & Property Ownership?

According to Section 3(1) of the Lands Act, “All land in Zambia shall vest absolutely in the President and shall be held by him in perpetuity for and on behalf of the people of Zambia, notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in any other law, instrument, or document, but subject to this Act.”

Because of this, one major limitation on real estate ownership is the fact that there is not such a thing as “ownership” of land in the traditional sense. All land in Zambia belongs to the president, who keeps it for and on behalf of the people of Zambia forever. Therefore, in Zambia, the only thing a person may claim as their own is a limited-time estate or interest in land. Nevertheless, it is common in daily speech to refer to someone who possesses significant land rights as the “owner” of the land.

Additionally, save in the following circumstances, land cannot be owned by non-Zambians, per Section 3(3) of the Lands Act:

The non-Zambian resides in Zambia permanently;

The investor is a non-Zambian;

The non-Zambian has written permission from the president;

Less than 25% of the issued shares of the non-Zambian company, which is registered under the Companies Act (10/2017), are held by non-Zambians;

The non-Zambian is a legal entity established by a parliamentary act;

Less than 25% of the members of the non-Zambian cooperative society, which is registered under the Cooperative Societies Act (20/1998), are non-Zambians;

The non-Zambian organization or institution is a non-profit, charitable, religious, educational, or philanthropic organization or institution that is a registered and approved entity under the Land (Perpetual Succession) Act;

The lease, sublease, or underlease in question is for a term of no more than five years, or a tenancy agreement gives rise to the interest or right in question;

The non-Zambian is a commercial bank registered under the Companies Act (10/2017) and the Banking and Financial Services Act (7/2017), or The non-Zambian is granted a concession or right under the Zambia Wildlife Act (14/2015). The interest or right in land is being passed down through inheritance, is being transferred under a right of survivorship, or is being transferred by operation of law.

3 Tips for Buying from Agents & Developers

First and foremost, you must make sure that only licensed real estate agents or estate agencies are used. When collaborating with agents, one of the most crucial things you must not compromise on is this. Estate agents must be licensed and accredited, just like any other prominent profession. They must also conduct their business within the boundaries of the law. The Zambia Institute of Estate Agents (ZIEA), which has authority for accreditation in Zambia, also sets down a code of conduct that all agents must follow. Working with a knowledgeable, skilled, and experienced agent is so essential. They will uphold strict honesty and transparency requirements. By contacting ZIEA, you can confirm and check an agent’s information.

You need to conduct some checks on the agent in addition to verifying the agent’s credentials with the Zambia Institute of Estate Agents. Begin by asking to see a portfolio of recent services they have provided. These need to be compatible with the services you want to hire them for. You should also follow up on any advice or endorsements that have been given. Make sure to confirm their veracity and sincerity. The agent’s fees and what you receive in return are another matter that you need to be noticeably clear on. Also keep a paper trail, so you make sure everyone signs off on everything in writing. Having this knowledge will assist you in selecting the agent or agency that best suits your requirements.

Whether it is an agent or an agency, it is critical to understand their additional competencies and local market expertise. Additionally, their market placement and the resources at their disposal are crucial to solving your problem. As a result, the size of an agency is quite important. Individual agents and smaller agencies will typically provide you with a better deal. Bigger institutions, however, typically; increase security and ensure consistency in quality, have access to a massive selection of homes for sale, rent, and purchase, and possess greater expertise and familiarity with the regional market. Although by no means comprehensive, this list should set you on the correct course for a stress-free encounter. Keep in mind to always work with accredited, highly rated agencies. Furthermore, they must be exceptionally knowledgeable about your needs and have a high delivery rate.

Are there mortgage options?

You must conduct a thorough evaluation of your financial situation before pursuing your ambitions of home ownership. Determine your ability to purchase a home and the ideal price range to meet your present financial situation. In actuality, few property buyers have the financial resources to make an outright purchase. Taking up a long-term mortgage in its place is becoming more common among first-time homebuyers in Zambia. Over the years, some financing choices have emerged, supporting improved innovation and more reasonable mortgage plans for borrowers who are professionally employed. In Zambia, getting a mortgage is a wonderful way to finance your real estate, but you need still be prepared to take on debt, which typically entails high-interest rates and other expenditures.

The rule of thumb for mortgages is that payments should not exceed 30 percent of your net income. Depending on the overall number of debts you have to service, this should decrease if you have other payments or loans. Before applying for a mortgage, you should carefully consider your financial situation and make that determination. Decide on a monthly payment amount that you can afford to make, and only consider mortgages that fall inside this range. Some mortgage businesses in Zambia are Zambian Home Loans,  Stanbic Bank Zambia,  First National Bank Zambia, Gather Wealth Investment Company LTD, etc.

Can I buy agricultural land in Zambia?

There are 752,000 square kilometers of land in Zambia, of which 58 percent is arable. However, 14% of the arable land is now being farmed, suggesting that there is room for more development in this region. To entice local and foreign investors to exploit existing surveyed land for agriculture and agro-business, new agricultural blocks have been offered.

Cotton, coffee, tobacco, sugarcane, pineapples, cashnuts, cassava, and other horticultural and floricultural crops are among the non-traditional crops with potential that have also been prioritized for investments. There are chances to participate in agro-processing and advance along the value chain.

Since most agriculture depends on rain, the success of this sector is influenced by the timing of the rain. Only 100,000 of the estimated 430,000 hectares of irrigation potential have been developed thus far. Zambia has enormous irrigation agricultural potential because it has an estimated 45 percent of Southern Africa’s total water resources.

Government officials are aware of the necessity to diversify from basic agriculture toward agro-processing because they realize that agriculture alone will not be sufficient to bring about considerable progress for the Zambian people. One of the most significant industries in Zambia that has recently seen unheard-of growth in terms of output and export performance is the agro-processing industry. Huge investment inflows into the various value chains as well as the supportive business environment have both been linked to this.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *