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14 Sep



The property market in Sierrr Laone is slowly developing. Poverty, cultural and religious beliefs and a strong preference for homeownership affect the demand and supply of housing. Factors like weak policy implementation, poor infrastructure, poor land administration, and profitability affect the way and manner people buy land and build houses. Large Real estate developers of affordable housing projects are very minimal. It is often expensive for the poor and average-income earners, and most projects have failed. The local Sierra Leoneans are the largest builders of rental and commercial buildings.

Finance, Insurance and Real Estate are projected to contribute Le 1.8 trillion to the GDP in 2022 (up from (around Le 1. 7 trillion) in 2021. For 2021, Real estate (Le326.572 billion) and Construction (Le340.414 billion ) show growth in 2022. Three new cement factories invested Le 1.799 billion (US$ 95 Million) and added 850,000 metric tons of capacity to the industry by January 2023. While reducing prices may not be possible, increasing supply could help stabilise cement prices and lower construction costs.

Overpopulation in Freetown and overcrowding are the critical reasons for the needs in the western areas, resulting in rising prices for accommodation units across the city. Mortgage loan interest is not only high and inaccessible but also unattractive due to religious beliefs among a significant percentage of the population. Because everyone wants to own their own home, prices of property have increased drastically for land at the outcasts of Freetown, leading to deforestation and building houses in unsafe neighbourhoods. In contrast, others are subdued to life in the slums.

The property market in Sierra Leone is unregulated and has no professional property association. So, the secrecy of undisclosed transactions has resulted in multiple conflicts and dubious transactions. Benchmarking or standardising prices or values is challenging due to market distortions. So, you may need a property professional to guide you on location, due diligence, price, negotiation and documentation.

Institutions involved in property registration and construction:

The Office of the Administrator and Registrar General (OARG)central registration of deeds for lands, marriage and othersRoxy Building, 28 Walpole Street, Freetown
The Ministry of Lands Housing and Country Planning & Directorate of Survey and Lands,the central registration for land parcels (Survey plan) and construction permitsYouyi Building, Brookfields, Freetown and New England, Freetown
Freetown city councilIssues permit for offloading of building materials on Street when constructing and collected city rate of all dwellings annually.17 Wallace Johnson Street, Freetown
Western Area Rural District CouncilIssues permit for offloading of building materials on Street when constructing and collected city rate of all dwellings annually.Waterloo

These documents are still archived manually. LS number, conveyance number, volume and page are

primary search data entered into a computer database for easy reference in both institutions. At and at

The Procedure of Property Title Registration

StepDescription of StepResponsible Person
1Surveying the land and registering the Survey plan at the Ministry of Lands, they send the return to the Roxy Building.
2Preparing two copies of the conveyance and seller executing the conveyance
3Sending the Conveyance to the National Revenue Authority to Tax and Collect the Tax Clearance Certificate
4Submitting the Conveyance to Roxy Building and pay the Stam duty
5The Registrar General sign the Conveyancea, and your copy is made for collection.

Besides a few changes concerning procedures at the Ministry of Land for survey documents filing, processing, charting and signing and payment for survey duties, NRA tax and Stamp duties, the steps in registering properties have remained unchanged over the years. Still, the time and cost have increased considerably since February 2021. On average, registering a title deed can take 75 days, costing around 15% of the property’s value.

Improvement of Policy and Legislative Environment

Weak policy frameworks and regulations are among the leading causes of housing poverty in Sierra Leone. Policy and legislative environment improvement promised to increase access and supply in the housing sector.

The 2015 national land policy, which resulted in the Customary Land Rights (CLR) Act and the National Land Commission (NLC) Act of 2022, will create efficient and comprehensive land administration at national and district levels. The CLR Act will safeguard customary land rights, eliminate gender and tribal discrimination, and prioritise responsible industrial development. This tends to guarantee women’s and developer’s access to land.

The Sierra Leone Land Administration Project (SLAPP) is in advanced planning with five components. Component two will finance US$6 million (Le113.640 million) Information and Communication Technology equipment purchase and Land Information System (LIS) development. LIS will provide automated land administration processes, digitised deeds, and cadastral maps, integrating sex-disaggregated land data, strengthing title security and easy title search and registration. The new Geographic Information System and Remote Sensing Directorate will enhance the MLHCP national LIS information and develop the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI).

Efforts have been made in Sierra Leone to promote gender equality in financial services, such as the Gender Equality and Women Empowerment Bill of 2023 and the Bank of Sierra Leone’s circular encouraging gender-sensitive policies and the Women’s Market program. GEWE assure equal to finance for women and criminalises any gender discrimination in terms of access to finance.


Buying properties in Sierra Leone presents many opportunities now than before, creating urgency for every diaspora to partake in the process. Besides the fact that you need a home back home for your holiday or vacation or the Banbaiy“, buying now, you will benefit from the following:

Affordable Property Prices

Sierra Leone often offers lower property prices in urban areas than many other countries, making it an attractive destination for budget-conscious diaspora investors. These prices have only increased over the years. For instance, in 2014, a plot of land cost only Le28 Million on the main at Mambo, Peninsular. Now, the same plot is sold for over a billion Leones.

Tourism and Hospitality

Sierra Leone has been trying to develop its tourism industry, with beautiful beaches, national parks, and historical sites. Investing in hotels, resorts, or vacation rentals can be lucrative as the tourism sector grows. In 2022, Hotels and Restaurants were projected to contribute around Le 153.468 billion to the gross domestic product. The industry has been projected to grow at 4.7% (4.4% in 2021), well above Wholesale and Retail trade (3.8%).

Natural Resources

Sierra Leone is rich in natural resources, including minerals and agricultural land. Investors interested in agriculture or mining can explore opportunities in these sectors, which may include land acquisition. You may have a chance to diversify your investment in several prospective sectors. Agriculture remained the single largest contributor to the Country’s GDP. In 2022, it was projected to reach 57.5%, and its growth has been flourishing over the years as the government prioritises its flagship program. Overhauling cultivation and revolutionisation, the sector stands to witness unprecedented transformation. Mining and Quarrying (14%) and iron ore (26%) are all experiencing unprecedented growth.

Urban Development and Expansion

Freetown and the peninsular area are gradually growing. There is a specific growth in demand for residential and commercial properties due to urbanisation and population growth. Investing in well-located properties in urban areas can yield good returns. The Central Business District of Freetown are considerably expanding towards central one and two. Lumely, Jui, and Waterloo are all cloning PZ and Abacha street traffic.

Infrastructure Development

The government has been improving infrastructure, including roads, water and electricity supply. The Freetown Masiaka Toll Road, Regent-Jui and Juba-Tokeh highways lead the urban development and present manifold options for investing in commercial and residential properties. The TAF Africa global project is expected to accelerate the explosion in the Peninsula connecting Waterloo and Lumley via public transport, opening new commercial centres and decongesting the city by a significant percentage.

Relatively Stable Political Environment

Sierra Leone has made progress in maintaining political stability and democratic governance, which is a positive factor for attracting investors. Mediation is ongoing between the government and the main opposition after the June 2023 election results, and a positive outcome is assured, which will harness stability, boost the investment climate and restore confidence in the housing sector.

Potential for Capital Appreciation

The economy is growing and is expected to recover in 2024-2025. Property values will appreciate over time, providing investors with potential capital gains. Rental prices are appreciating due to the resurgence of demand and growth of the middle-income population.

Opportunities for Social Impact

Your investment in residential will contribute to community development through real estate projects that provide employment and improve living conditions in underserved areas. There are a lot of innovative social housing models already in the advanced stage in other countries. As a diasporan, this can be an ingenious opportunity both at the upstream and downstream suppliers.

Renewable Energy Projects

With its abundant sunlight and wind resources, Sierra Leone presents opportunities for renewable energy projects, including solar farms and wind turbines, which can benefit from the country’s vision for clean energy. Solar energy is already widespread across the country. Diasporans can explore the opportunity for innovative ideas to increase access usage by cutting down prices.

Diaspora Engagement

Other diaspora members are investing in Sierra Leone. TAF Salone micro-city will start constructing 1,280 affordable homes in John Obey in the Peninsular. This project poses an opportunity to revolutionise the entire Peninsular and Freetown. It also presents urgency for you to make use of this opportunity.


Despite these opportunities, it is advisable to be aware of these challenges. As members of the diaspora community, managing properties in Sierra Leone can be challenging, whether you are in the process of buying, selling, renting, or constructing. Although the specific challenges may differ from person to person, many common issues can cause stress and frustration:

Confirming Property Title and Ownership

Clarifying property ownership and verifying land titles can be a complex and time-consuming process in Sierra Leone. Disputes and conflicts over property rights may exist, and diasporans may not have time to conduct thorough due diligence and lose their investment.

Corruption and Bureaucracy of Process

Corruption of government officials or intermediaries in property transactions is enormous. Bureaucratic red tape and administrative inefficiencies have frustrated many diasporans and caused them to give up on their investment in Sierra Leone.

Lack of Infrastructure

Many parts of newly developing communities, such as Freetown (Peninsular and Waterloo) or, by extension, Sierra Leone, lack basic infrastructure such as good roads, electricity, and water supply. Diaspora buyers may need to invest in additional infrastructure for their properties, increasing the overall cost.

Access to Financing

Unlike in the West, access to financing options, including mortgages, can be limited for diaspora and local buyers. Interest rates are high (25%-35%), and lending criteria are stringent. Often, the process involved in securing mortgage finance for a home purchased underscores inflexibility and the high cost of transactions, especially for informal sector employees or traders.

Property Fraud

Property fraud is rampant in the Western area of the Republic of Sierra Leone. Diasporan buyers and Sellers are prone to land grabbers, conflicting families, double sales, counterfeit land documents and false property listings. It requires meticulous decision-making to discern the thin line between genuine lands or sellers from the fraudsters.

Local Knowledge

Knowledge about the property’s current market, where, why and how to buy, and the payment terms for properties is often not standard, and lack of local knowledge can lead to misunderstandings and difficulties in negotiations.

Legal Framework and Regulations

Understanding legal requirements like the Survey process at the Ministry of Lands, Registration of land documents at Roxy Building and NRA Capital Gain or Rental taxation is often misunderstood. Your awareness can reduce surprises and enhance your interest and motivation to invest.

Currency Exchange and Economic Volatility

Perhaps fluctuations of the Leones against the dollars is one the largest diasporan clamour. It has a compound effect on land prices, construction household furniture and essential utilities. This is often inconceivable for most diasporans. Others have responded by tagging prices of properties in US dollars. Although this is believed to result in price insurgency, high turnaround time still mitigates the risk of loss of property value.

Remittances and Financial Transactions

Sending money from abroad to or from Sierra Leone for property purchases involves high charges and delays due to the transaction volume. Diaspora buyers or sellers must consider cost-effective and reliable methods for transferring funds to reduce charges.


So, diaspora buyers should seek legal counsel and consult with local real estate experts familiar with the Sierra Leonean property market. Engaging a reputable real estate professional and conducting thorough research can help mitigate some of these challenges and ensure a smoother property-buying process in Sierra Leone.

Additionally, staying informed about the local market conditions and seeking guidance from other Sierra Leonean diaspora members who have successfully purchased properties in the country can be valuable.

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