The real estate industry’s potential to create jobs and boost economic growth has not been fully explored in Nigeria, stakeholders have said.
The stakeholders noted that as an industry, real estate had the potential to take millions of Nigerians out of the street.
They made this known at a two-day West African Property Investment Summit, which brought international thought leaders and strategic local partners together in Lagos, recently.
The Chief Executive Officer, Agility Africa, Geoffrey White, said the government should be pressured to make the informal real estate sector formal.
He said, “We have a huge percentage of unemployment, housing deficit as well as industrial and office space deficit. And the only sector that can absorb that number of people is real estate. It is the most resourceful sector that no other can compensate for.
“When you build real estate, plumbers, labourers, electricians and even caterers that feed the men on site are able to make money. Even in the 1960s, the economic growth that took place in Canada where I grew up was spurred by real estate.”
According to him, there are great opportunities in the real estate sector due to demand.
“If you observe very successful companies such as Dangote, MTN, Interswitch, you will discover that they have figured out in difficult conditions how to feed the point of demand and the real estate sector has to do this to move forward,” he said.
Speaking on real estate funding, Head, Real Estate Finance West Africa, Stanbic IBTC Capital Limited, Tola Akinhanmi, said investors and developers needed to create more bankable projects.
“It should be noted that banks do not lend on the premise that they want to take over the assets and most banks find it risky to lend because they want to understand how the interest and capital will be paid back,” he said.
“In order to borrow from a bank, you will need equity, capable of paying back both the interest and capital as well as guaranteed support,” he added.
The Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who gave the keynote address, said there had been a noticeable increase in the interest of investors in the real estate industry as a result of an increase in rural-urban migration which had led to the significant rise in the demand for properties, both for residential and business purposes.
The governor, who was represented by the Commissioner for Housing, Moruf Akinderu-Fatai, also assured investors and stakeholders of the government’s commitment to solving the issues of land security and the time taken to process land documents.
“The government is taking into consideration measures such as the deployment of cutting-edge technology, land management, and administration as well as accountability and transparency of processing documents within a short period of time to ensure the incidence of land grabbing is curtailed,” he said.
He said the state had developed technology-driven solutions and implored investors and all stakeholders in the real estate and property business to collaborate with Lagos State transactions department under the Ministry of Housing to protect the general public from dubious activities and guarantee secure investment.
source: Maureen Ihua-Maduenyi (PUNCH)