Real estate is cardinally considered as an asset class and as such an investment vehicle. This strongly held view is the motivation for the current research. Although it remains small compared with advanced economies, there is a growing stock of residential, office, industrial and retail assets in Africa which constitutes the basis of an emergent real estate investment market. Real estate market size is a primary factor bearing upon the interest of global investors. Markets which are small in total value are less likely to offer investments in the large lot sizes, or the levels of liquidity preferred by these investors. Investors outside Africa have often treated the continent as a single market for real estate investment even though there are submarkets provided by each country.

It is not uncommon that research works on African real estate investment markets take viewpoint of investors from the advanced economies. The focus has been on questions like the ability of new markets to meet the standards of professionalism and transparency required by inward investors. Furthermore, both information sources and published literature on African real estate markets are, on the whole, limited. With the partial exception of South Africa, there are few sources, and limited comparison of markets’ performance exists to facilitate regional submarkets analysis.

In examining selected real estate markets in Africa – Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, and Namibia – the paper makes an original contribution to the understanding of investment potentials and in particular delivers an appreciation of the uniqueness of each market. The research methodology is from a qualitative perspective and primarily relies on evidence from market reports and survey by the Global Transparency Index produced by Jones Lang LaSalle, Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum and Global Property Guide.

Evidence from the research suggests that real estate investment markets in Africa (with the exception of South Africa) share characteristics of emerging markets in terms of limited transaction data, low quality of data, transparency issues, valuation standards and the inactive participation of international market intermediaries.