Don't make mistakes in Cameroon

We've created a guide to help you avoid pitfalls, save time, and make the best long-term investment possible.

How to make a good property investment in Cameroon

Last updated on 

real estate Cameroon

Everything you need to know is included in our Cameroon Property Pack

Whether you're interested in a tranquil lakeside retreat in Limbe, a modern apartment in bustling Douala, or a profitable rental property in the vibrant city of Yaoundé, Cameroon offers diverse real estate options to meet your investment needs.

However, making a property investment in this country can be challenging, especially with all the new laws and regulations involved.

We're committed to breaking down everything you need to know in a way that's easy to grasp, making it simpler for you. If you have any lingering questions, please feel free to get in touch with us.

Also, for a more detailed analysis, you can download our property pack for Cameroon, made by our country expert and reviewed by locals.

How is investing in real estate in Cameroon?

Is Cameroon an attractive destination for property investment?

Cameroon, often referred to as "Africa in miniature" due to its diverse culture and geography, has been steadily growing as an attractive destination for property investment.

This interest is driven by several factors, including economic growth, urbanization, and an increasing population.

A key aspect of Cameroon's appeal in property investment is the dynamism of its real estate market. For instance, in major cities like Douala and Yaoundé, there's been a notable increase in demand for both residential and commercial properties.

This demand is reflected in rising property prices and rental rates, with some areas in these cities witnessing annual price increases in the range of 5-10%.

This growth is propelled by factors such as urban migration, the burgeoning middle class, and foreign investment.

Historically, Cameroon's real estate market has shown gradual but steady growth. Unlike many global markets, it did not experience a severe crash during the 2008 financial crisis, primarily due to its less exposure to global financial markets and more reliance on local funding sources for real estate development.

However, the market isn't without its challenges, including issues related to land ownership rights and infrastructure development.

Regarding the types of investments that tend to perform well, there's a diverse range. Residential properties in urban areas, particularly in Douala and Yaoundé, are highly sought after.

These range from affordable housing to luxury apartments, catering to the varied socio-economic segments of the population. Commercial properties, such as office spaces and retail outlets in these cities, are also witnessing increased demand due to the growing economy and business opportunities.

A unique and positive aspect of properties in Cameroon, particularly in coastal cities like Douala, is their proximity to natural beauty – the Atlantic coastline, and lush green landscapes.

This geographical advantage not only enhances the aesthetic appeal of properties but also offers a unique living experience combining urban life with natural surroundings.

In terms of investment safety and stability, Cameroon offers a mixed picture. On one hand, its growing economy and urbanization present opportunities for property investment.

On the other, potential investors should be mindful of challenges such as bureaucratic processes and the need to clearly understand land ownership laws. It's crucial to conduct thorough due diligence and possibly engage local experts when considering investment.

Knowledge of the local language, French or English (Cameroon is bilingual), is beneficial but not absolutely necessary for property investment. In major cities, many real estate agents and legal professionals are bilingual and accustomed to dealing with international clients.

However, having a basic understanding of either of the official languages can facilitate smoother transactions and negotiations.

What are the trends forecasts for the real estate market in Cameroon?

Understanding the current trends in Cameroon's housing market requires a nuanced approach, considering various economic, political, and social factors that influence real estate dynamics.

Firstly, Cameroon's real estate market has been experiencing growth, driven by increasing urbanization and a growing middle class. Cities like Douala and Yaoundé are seeing a rise in demand for both residential and commercial properties.

This trend is likely to continue as more people move to urban areas in search of better employment opportunities and living standards.

However, there are challenges too. The affordability of housing remains a significant issue. The demand is more for mid-range and affordable housing, but the supply is often skewed towards high-end properties.

This mismatch might lead to a surplus of luxury properties and a shortage of affordable homes, potentially stabilizing or even decreasing prices in the high-end segment while increasing them in the affordable sector.

Investments in infrastructure, such as roads and utilities, can significantly boost the real estate market. Improved infrastructure makes areas more accessible and attractive for development, potentially increasing property values in previously underdeveloped areas.

Keep an eye on government announcements about major infrastructure projects, as these could be indicators of where the market might grow.

Political stability is crucial. Cameroon, like many countries, faces its share of political challenges. Any significant political changes or instability can impact investor confidence, affecting the real estate market.

A stable political environment, on the other hand, would likely encourage both local and foreign investment in property.

Finally, government policies and legislation can have a profound impact. Policies aimed at encouraging homeownership, like tax incentives or subsidized loans, can stimulate the market.

Conversely, heavy taxation or restrictive regulations can dampen growth. It's important to stay informed about any upcoming changes in property laws or housing policies, as these will directly influence market dynamics.

Thinking of buying real estate in Cameroon?

Acquiring property in a different country is a complex task. Don't fall into common traps – grab our guide and make better decisions.

buying property foreigner Cameroon

What types of property can you buy in Cameroon? What are the prices and yields?

If you need a detailed and updated analysis of the prices, rents and yields, you can get our full guide about real estate investment in Cameroon.

Investing in property in Cameroon presents a range of opportunities, whether you're considering building or buying existing properties.

The real estate market in Cameroon is diverse, and your investment strategy could vary based on the type of property and its location.

In major cities like Douala and Yaoundé, residential properties are a common investment choice. Building a property from the ground up is definitely an option, but it's important to factor in the cost of land, construction, and potential delays or challenges.

Alternatively, buying existing properties might be more straightforward.

The average cost of residential properties in urban areas can vary significantly. In prime locations, prices might be higher due to demand and the level of development.

However, in less developed or peripheral areas, the costs can be substantially lower. It's crucial to consider not just the purchase price but also additional costs like taxes, renovation, and maintenance.

The ratio of renters to owners in Cameroon's cities has been shifting over the years. There's a growing trend of people investing in properties to rent them out. This 'buy-to-let' strategy is gaining traction because of the steady demand for rental housing, particularly in urban and economically active areas.

Rental yield potential is an important consideration. In city centers and business districts, where demand is high, you can expect a better return on investment.

Rental yields vary, but in well-located areas, they can be quite attractive. This potential is bolstered by the consistent demand for housing in urban centers.

Tourism does have an impact on the property market, especially in terms of short-term rentals. Properties in tourist-favored locations or cities with frequent business travelers can benefit from the short-term rental market. This often results in higher rental prices, but the occupancy rates can fluctuate seasonally.

Reselling property in Cameroon can be straightforward, but it often depends on the property's location, condition, and market conditions at the time of sale. Properties in desirable areas or those that have appreciated due to development tend to sell more easily.

The typical holding period for property investments varies. For long-term growth, holding a property for several years is common. This period allows for capital appreciation.

The prospects for capital gains can be quite promising, especially in rapidly developing areas or in cities experiencing economic growth.

However, these gains are not guaranteed and can be influenced by a range of factors including economic stability, infrastructural developments, and market trends.

Which regions in Cameroon offer the best investment opportunities?

Foreigners looking to invest in property in Cameroon often gravitate towards specific regions for various reasons, each with its unique appeal and potential drawbacks.

Understanding these dynamics can help you make informed decisions about where to invest.

Firstly, many foreigners are drawn to Douala and Yaoundé, Cameroon's largest cities. These urban centers are popular due to their economic opportunities and developed infrastructure. They attract a diverse group of foreigners, including business professionals, expatriates, and investors.

The property market in these cities is relatively robust, offering both residential and commercial investment opportunities. However, the downside is the higher cost of living and property prices compared to more rural areas.

In contrast, regions like Limbe and Kribi are gaining popularity for their natural beauty and tourism potential. These coastal cities are known for their beaches and are increasingly attracting tourists and expats looking for a more relaxed lifestyle.

Investment in these areas can be particularly profitable in the hospitality sector, such as hotels and vacation rentals. The property prices in these regions are generally more affordable than in the major cities, but it's important to be aware of the seasonal nature of tourism, which can affect rental demand.

For those seeking budget-friendly options, the North-West and South-West regions can be attractive. These areas are known for their agricultural potential and serene landscapes.

However, it's crucial to consider the political and social stability of these regions, as they have experienced unrest in recent years.

Predicting future trends, areas around major infrastructure projects, like new highways or industrial zones, are likely to see an increase in property values and rental demand.

For instance, areas near the Kribi Deep Seaport could become more desirable due to increased commercial activity.

However, there are regions that might be less advisable for investment. Areas with political instability, poor infrastructure, or low economic activity can pose risks. It's also wise to avoid regions prone to natural disasters like flooding, which can impact property values and rental potential.

Here is a summary table to help you visualize better. If you need more detailed data and information, please check our property pack for Cameroon.

Region/City Key Features Advantages Drawbacks
Douala and Yaoundé Cameroon's largest cities, economic centers Developed infrastructure, diverse opportunities Higher cost of living and property prices
Limbe and Kribi Coastal cities, known for beaches Popular for tourism, affordable property prices Seasonal nature of tourism
North-West and South-West Regions Agricultural potential, serene landscapes Budget-friendly options Political and social instability
Areas near major infrastructure projects Near highways, industrial zones, etc. Potential increase in property values Dependent on project success and development
Less Advisable Areas Political instability, poor infrastructure Lower investment needed Risks, natural disaster prone, low economic activity

Make a profitable investment in Cameroon

Better information leads to better decisions. Save time and money. Download our guide.

buying property foreigner Cameroon

Who can invest in real estate in Cameroon?

Investing in property as a foreigner in Cameroon

Investing in housing property in Cameroon as a foreigner involves several factors to consider.

Firstly, it's essential to understand that while foreigners can own property in Cameroon, the rules differ slightly from those for locals.

Regarding land ownership, as a foreigner, you can purchase and own land, but it's not as straightforward as it is for locals. There are certain restrictions.

For instance, you may need to form a partnership with a local entity or go through additional bureaucratic steps. This is where the country you're from might play a role. Certain bilateral agreements between Cameroon and other countries could streamline or complicate this process.

Living in Cameroon is not a prerequisite for owning property. You don't need to be a resident to purchase and own property.

However, the type of visa you hold can be significant. While a tourist visa might suffice for the initial purchase process, longer-term arrangements like a residence permit could be necessary for ongoing ownership and management of the property.

There aren't specific restrictions on how long a foreigner can own property in Cameroon. You can own it indefinitely, and it can be passed on to heirs or sold to another foreigner.

However, each transfer might require going through the standard legal and bureaucratic procedures.

As for documentation, yes, a Tax ID is usually necessary. This is part of ensuring that all property transactions are legal and above board. You might also need other documents, such as proof of identity and proof of funds.

In certain cases, specific authorization from a governmental institution is required, particularly when it involves large parcels of land or significant investments.

Regarding financial transactions, having a local bank account is advantageous but not always mandatory.

You can make payments in foreign currencies, but it's often simpler and more transparent to conduct transactions in the local currency. This helps with tax compliance and other legal matters.

Speaking of taxes, as a foreigner, you are generally subject to the same tax rates as locals when it comes to property.

However, there might be additional fees or duties for foreign investors, depending on the nature and size of the investment.

Residency and investment in Cameroon

Cameroon does not offer a direct residency-by-investment program in real estate, unlike some other countries.

This means you cannot automatically become a resident of Cameroon just by purchasing property there.

However, owning property might indirectly support your residency application by demonstrating economic ties to the country, but it's not a standalone pathway to residency.

To become a resident in Cameroon, you typically need to follow the standard immigration procedures set by the government. These procedures often involve applying for a visa or a permit that matches your purpose of stay, such as work, study, or family reunification.

Each category comes with its own requirements, such as having a job offer for a work visa or family connections for family reunification.

The minimum investment required, in this case, would not be in terms of real estate but rather in terms of meeting the specific requirements of the visa or permit category you are applying under. For example, if you are applying for a work visa, the investment would be more about securing a job and proving financial stability rather than a specific monetary investment.

Regarding the number of people who have used such a scheme, since Cameroon does not have a direct real estate investment residency program, there are no specific statistics available for this.

The duration of the residency depends on the type of visa or permit you obtain. It could range from short-term to long-term, and you may need to renew it periodically.

Permanent residency is typically a separate process and might require living in the country for a certain number of years, among other requirements.

As for citizenship, obtaining residency in Cameroon is a step towards it, but residency alone is not sufficient.

You would need to fulfill additional criteria, including length of stay, language proficiency, and understanding of Cameroonian culture and laws.

The exact requirements and process for citizenship are detailed in Cameroon's nationality laws.

Don't sign a Cameroonian document you don't understand

Buying a property in Cameroon? We have reviewed all the documents you need to know. Stay out of trouble - grab our comprehensive guide.

buying property foreigner Cameroon

How to get started to invest in real estate in Cameroon?

What is the step-by-step process to buy property in Cameroon?

We'll give her a brief overview. However, there is a detailed and dedicated document to the buying process in our property pack for Cameroon.

Buying property in Cameroon involves a series of steps that can be both straightforward and complex, depending on various factors. Initially, you start by identifying a property you're interested in. This could be through real estate agents, online listings, or personal networks.

Once you've found a suitable property, the next step is making an offer. This is typically done through negotiation with the seller or their representative. It's important to note that negotiation in Cameroon can be quite dynamic, often influenced by market conditions and the bargaining skills of both parties.

After agreeing on a price, the next step is usually to draft a preliminary sales agreement, known as a 'compromis de vente'. This document outlines the terms of the sale, including the price, and is often accompanied by a deposit from the buyer. This deposit, usually around 10% of the purchase price, signifies your commitment to the purchase.

One aspect of the Cameroonian property buying process that stands out is the involvement of a 'notary'. The notary, a public official, plays a crucial role in the legal aspects of the transaction. They ensure that the property's title is clear and that all necessary legal procedures are followed. Engaging a notary is mandatory in Cameroon for property transactions.

The most complicated and error-prone steps typically involve verifying the property's legal status and ensuring all documentation is correct. Issues like unresolved land disputes, unclear property boundaries, or improper documentation can cause significant delays.

It's crucial to conduct thorough due diligence to avoid such pitfalls.

In terms of duration, the entire process, from finding a house to gaining full ownership, can take several months. The time-consuming aspects usually involve legal checks, obtaining necessary approvals, and finalizing the sale contract. Delays can occur if there are complications with the property's legal status or if bureaucratic processes are slow.

Regarding language, while it's not absolutely necessary to know French or English (the official languages of Cameroon), it certainly helps in understanding the process and ensuring clear communication. Many documents and legal proceedings are in these languages. If you're not fluent, it would be wise to engage the services of a translator or a local real estate expert.

Cultural norms and practices can also play a role in the property buying process. For instance, in some communities, it's important to engage with local leaders or elders as a sign of respect and to ensure community acceptance of the transaction.

Ignoring these cultural aspects can sometimes lead to misunderstandings or resistance from the local community.

Looking for property in Cameroon

Please note that there is a list of contacts (real estate agencies, lawyers, notaries, etc.) and websites in our pack of documents related to the real estate market in Cameroon.

In Cameroon, the search for a house typically begins in a few common ways, each with its unique aspects and considerations.

One popular method is through housing portals and online listings. These digital platforms offer a wide range of options, allowing you to filter properties based on location, price, size, and other criteria. Websites like Jumia House and are examples where people frequently browse listings. The advantage here is the convenience of exploring multiple options from the comfort of your home.

Real estate agents also play a significant role in the Cameroonian property market. They usually have a portfolio of properties and provide personalized assistance. Working with an agent can be particularly helpful if you're unfamiliar with the local real estate market. Agents can offer insights into different neighborhoods, price trends, and legal requirements.

However, it's important to verify the agent's credibility and experience. Not all agents are equally reliable. Red flags include lack of proper licensing, reluctance to provide references, or pressure to make quick decisions.

Social media platforms and local forums are another unique avenue in Cameroon. Platforms like Facebook groups and WhatsApp communities often have listings and discussions about available properties. These informal networks can be useful for getting real-time information and connecting with sellers directly. However, they also require a degree of caution, as listings are not always verified.

Direct access to property listings is common, but the role of real estate agents cannot be understated. They often provide listings that might not be publicly advertised and can facilitate negotiations and legal processes. It's more common for buyers to find properties through agents, especially for higher-value transactions.

In Cameroon, the roles and responsibilities of a buyer's agent and a seller's agent can differ. A seller's agent primarily works on behalf of the seller to market the property and negotiate the best terms. In contrast, a buyer's agent focuses on finding the best property for the buyer, negotiating favorable terms, and guiding them through the purchasing process. It's crucial to understand whether an agent is representing your interests or those of the seller.

Real estate agent commissions in Cameroon are not standardized and can vary widely. It's important to discuss commission rates upfront.

Typically, the seller pays the agent's commission, but this can vary depending on the agreement between the parties.

When dealing with real estate agents, effective negotiation strategies include being clear about your budget and requirements, not showing too much eagerness, and being willing to walk away if a deal doesn't meet your criteria. It's also beneficial to compare properties and terms offered by different agents to ensure you're getting a fair deal.

Buying property in Cameroon

In Cameroon, like in many places, negotiating the price of a house is a common practice.

The expectation to negotiate can vary depending on the local market conditions and the seller's circumstances, but generally, buyers are expected to negotiate to some extent. The amount you should ask for as a discount on the selling price isn't fixed; it can range from a modest 5% to a more substantial 20%, depending on factors like the property's condition, location, and how long it's been on the market.

It's important to approach this with a strategy: start with a lower offer than what you're willing to pay, but remain realistic and respectful.

Conducting due diligence is a critical step in the property-buying process. It involves verifying the legal status of the property and ensuring there are no hidden complications. This usually starts with a title search, which is the process of examining public records to confirm the seller's right to transfer ownership.

In Cameroon, this means checking with the land registry to ensure the property is registered and that there are no encumbrances, like liens or disputes, attached to it.

While it's not mandatory to hire a lawyer or a notary for the entire process, it's highly recommended, especially for navigating the complexities of title searches and legal paperwork. The cost of hiring these professionals can vary. Lawyers might charge a percentage of the property's value or a flat fee, while notaries have standardized fees based on government regulations. The price can range from a few hundred to several thousand CFA francs, depending on the property's value and the complexity of the transaction.

Regarding specific documents and paperwork, you'll need a range of documents for a property purchase in Cameroon. These include the title deed, which proves ownership, a cadastral plan (a detailed map of the property), and a tax certificate showing that all property taxes have been paid. Obtaining these documents involves liaising with the land registry and the local council. It's here that a lawyer or a notary can be invaluable, helping to navigate the bureaucratic process and ensuring all paperwork is correctly completed and filed.

The final step in the process is the official transfer and registration of property ownership. Once all parties agree to the terms and the necessary due diligence is completed, a final sale agreement is drafted and signed. This agreement, along with the title deed, must be submitted to the land registry for the property to be officially transferred to your name. The registration process finalizes the transaction, legally recognizing you as the new owner.

This step often involves paying a registration fee, which is a percentage of the property's value.

Buying real estate in Cameroon can be risky

An increasing number of foreign investors are showing interest in Cameroon. However, 90% of them will make mistakes. Avoid the pitfalls with our comprehensive guide.

buying property foreigner Cameroon

Financing a property in Cameroon

Foreign investors looking to finance property investments in Cameroon have a few options, though the process can be more challenging compared to local buyers. Financing typically involves either bringing in funds from abroad, using personal savings, or attempting to secure a loan from a bank within Cameroon.

Securing a loan from a Cameroonian bank as a foreigner is possible but can be complex. It's less common due to the stringent requirements, which often include having a significant local presence or connections, such as a job or business in the country. For those who do qualify, interest rates on property loans can vary widely. They tend to be higher than in many Western countries, reflecting the greater perceived risk and different economic conditions.

Rates can range from moderate to quite high, so it’s crucial to shop around and negotiate terms with different banks.

Regarding the payment process, typically, a deposit is paid when you and the seller agree on the sale terms and before signing the formal purchase agreement. This deposit, often around 10% to 30% of the total sale value, shows your commitment to the purchase. The remaining balance is usually paid upon signing the purchase agreement or shortly thereafter, depending on the agreement with the seller.

Closing costs and fees associated with buying property in Cameroon can be significant. These include notary fees, registration fees, and possibly legal fees if you hire a lawyer. Notary fees are regulated and are based on a percentage of the property's value. Registration fees also depend on the property's value and can be a notable expense. These costs are typically the responsibility of the buyer and should be factored into your overall budget.

When buying a house in Cameroon, you also need to consider taxes. The government imposes a tax on property transactions, which is a percentage of the sale price. This percentage can vary, so it's important to confirm the current rate at the time of your purchase.

Additionally, as a property owner, you'll be subject to annual property taxes. The rate for these taxes can vary depending on the location and value of the property.

Capital gains tax is another consideration, particularly if you plan to sell the property in the future. This tax is levied on the profit made from the sale and is calculated based on the difference between the purchase price and the selling price. The specific rate and exemptions can vary, so it's wise to consult with a local tax expert.

Other additional fees might include costs for property valuation, due diligence, and potentially fees for real estate agents or brokers if you use their services.

What are the risks and pitfalls when buying property in Cameroon?

Investing in property in Cameroon presents a unique set of challenges and risks, especially for foreign investors. One of the primary concerns in such investments is the security of property rights.

While foreign investors are allowed to own property in Cameroon, navigating the legal framework and bureaucratic processes can be complex and time-consuming. The property rights system may not always be as straightforward or as well-documented as in other countries, making thorough due diligence essential.

A notable pitfall specific to Cameroon is the dual land tenure system, which includes both statutory and customary land rights. Statutory land is formally registered and comes with a land title, making it a safer option for foreign investors.

However, customary land, governed by local traditions, might not have formal documentation. This lack of clarity can lead to disputes and legal complications. It's not uncommon for foreign investors to inadvertently purchase customary land, unaware of its ambiguous legal status.

Another challenge is understanding and complying with property development regulations, which can be intricate and vary significantly by region. Local regulations might change, or new ones might be introduced after a project has started, leading to unexpected legal and financial issues. This highlights the importance of staying updated on local laws and practices.

Environmental risks, such as flooding and climate change implications, are also important factors to consider. Certain areas in Cameroon are prone to natural disasters, which can affect property values and increase maintenance costs.

For instance, properties in coastal regions might be at risk of erosion or sea-level rise. Understanding these environmental risks is crucial for long-term property investment planning.

Regarding the experiences of foreign investors in Cameroon, there have been instances of investment failures primarily due to inadequate due diligence or misunderstanding of the local market. Such cases underscore the importance of thorough research and consulting with local experts.

For insurance and liability, foreign property owners in Cameroon should seek comprehensive insurance coverage. This insurance should ideally cover natural disasters, theft, and other damages. Liability insurance becomes particularly crucial if the property is used for commercial purposes or rented out.

To mitigate these risks, foreign investors are advised to engage with local legal and real estate professionals who are familiar with the Cameroonian property market.

These experts can provide invaluable assistance in conducting due diligence, navigating the legal system, and understanding local market dynamics.

In the event of conflicts or disputes, foreign investors have access to the Cameroonian judicial system, although it's worth noting that legal proceedings can be lengthy.

Having clear property titles and adhering to local laws and regulations is essential in safeguarding investments.

Don't lose money on your property in Cameroon

100% of people who have lost money in Cameroon have spent less than 1 hour researching the market. We have reviewed everything there is to know. Grab our guide now.

buying property foreigner Cameroon

This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered financial advice. Readers are advised to consult with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions. We do not assume any liability for actions taken based on the information provided.