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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Recent Developments in Nigeria Real Estate Industry

      It is indeed a difficult moment for the Nigerian economy, share prices on the stock market have collapsed, both the inflation rate and interest rate are in double digit, value of Naira relative to the Dollar has fallen to an unprecedented level, price of crude oil (major Nigerian export) has remain where it was in the past two years and above all our new APC government is sort of fighting it out with different economic models not sure which one to adopt. While the monetary and fiscal arms of the government behaves as if they are at logger head with one another. As the year come to an end, 2016 budget is not yet implemented up to 60% while on the other end the recessionary phenomenon moves on. This climate of uncertainty made many investors skeptical of putting their money in Nigeria until when they are quite sure of the economic direction of this government. But, another aspect of the economic crisis (which can be categorized as positive) is Nigerians in all spheres of life are looking inward (including those involve in the real estate sector) for made in Nigeria products and services. As a result of this renew vigor real estate actors in Nigeria have started using locally produce raw materials for building of houses instead of the long overdue reliance on markets such as China's for doors, glasses, titles, electric wares, etc. This help the economy in maintaining our dwindling reserve of highly needed foreign exchange. But, taking into consideration the fact that both the real and monetary sectors of the economy are expected to move in unison, Federal government must do more than it is currently doing through policy harmonization. There is no single Nigerian billionaire that is not investing in the real estate sector of the economy in one way or the other, whether directly or indirectly. This tell you a lot about the potentials of the sector and how Nigerian Billionaires such as Dangote, Dantata, Adenuga, Isyaka Rabius, to mention just a few, are using the sector to diversify their investment holdings and hedge against risks.

      Property developments in strategic locations around Nigeria are still going on despite the economic challenges, this tell you much about how investors see the sector as promising with a lot of future potentials to turn the fortune of the Nigerian economy. In relation to this, some clever Nigerian investors have started purchasing real estate properties (at today's lower prices) keeping them for when the economy rebound, while others are investing in building commercial spaces including mega shopping malls. Unlike the developed markets, Nigerian real estate market is underdeveloped; this mean high expectation of returns from investments in the market, higher than obtainable elsewhere around the world. In Kano state for example, the state government has made it easy for land owners to acquire title to their properties at short period of time and at lower cost: around N5,000.00 in the lower income group. An innovative interest free mortgage system introduced by Islamic banks around the world provide an easy way for prospective home buyers to own homes. Nigeria first fully fledged Islamic bank Ja'iz Bank plc has been running the scheme for the benefits of its clients for some time now. In Lagos, the Eko Atlantic city is one project that promise to revolutionize the real estate landscape of Lagos. Already work has reached advanced stage with some projects at near completion. According to the developers of the project Eko Atlantic city promise luxuries obtainable in developed countries here in Nigeria.

       Another important plus for the real estate sector is Buhari's government current focus on building infrastructures with billions of Naira already allocated in this years budget for roads, railways, bridges, electricity and airports. These are major components in the development of real estate sector in any economy around the world. Nation states such as Dubai, Singapore and even Hon Kong could not have made it without heavy investments in infrastructures. One trend worth mentioning here is how this government policy forced wealthy Nigerians into investing in Nigerian real estate market instead of moving their investments to real estate properties of Dubai and London. As a result, thousands of jobs are being created weekly in the construction industry ranging from ordinary laborers work to production of doors, windows, painting, glass work, etc. The gradual restoration of security in Nigeria is another plus for the sector as it will go along way in attracting foreign investors back to the sector. APC government, according to the minister of power, works and housing Babatunde Raji Fashola will build thousands of houses across the country. Under another scheme, the Federal Civil Servants Housing Scheme (FISH), government promised to build 5,000 houses in each state of the federation for civil servants within three years of the lunch of the program. The program was lunched in August of this year.  Federal government, according to Mr. Fashola, was trying to borrow from housing programs of Great Britain and Singapore who have (as their hallmark) uniformity of design throughout the duration of the respective housing programs.