But now new housing estates are being built amid an economic boom as Diaspora Somalis return and newly wealthy businessmen capitalise on the relative peace in the city.
Some seven kilometres outside Mogadishu in a formerly largely rural area, new homes are springing up, with almost 50 houses now ready on an estate, builders say.
Mohamed Abdullahi Ali, from Salaam Somali Bank, said it was a “great honour” to back the estimated $20 million (18 million euro) project.
Construction began in early 2015 and the project was touted as offering commercial returns and helping rebuild the nation.
“It is a new neighbourhood for all Somalis to buy affordable homes, by leaving the densely populated neighbourhoods of Mogadishu, and to come and stay with families here,” Ali said.
“According to our plan, we are going to build 500 homes that can cover the residential needs for 500 families in the first stage, and then will construct more houses.”