Investors’ fear over Nigerian real estate sector has been allayed by housing analysts, professionals and promoters of projects as stakeholders besiege the new city development on reclaimed land. DAYO AYEYEMI reports
Apparently impressed by the latest details on growth of Nigeria’s real Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which has moved to positive territory after five consecutive quarters of negative growth, promoters of housing projects and professionals have commenced moves to win investor confidence back to the sector.
This is evident in the number of housing (residential, office and commercial) developments that are currently being introduced to kick-start activities and lure investors back apart from pockets of opportunities. According to some of them that spoke with New Telegraph last weekend, going by the latest positive report from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) that the country is out of recession, the best time to invest in real estate sector for high- returns is now.
Experts noted that some of the developers have remained bullish and passionate about their initiative of inspiring confidence in both local and international investors.
Impressed by this, lecturer in the Department of Estate Surveying and Management, Obafemi Awolowo University, Professor Olatoye Ojo, stated that the current positive news about the economy has presented good ground for anybody who can defend his income to invest in real estate. He said : “If there is anybody who can defend his income, the best time to invest is now.
There is glut in the property market (purchase and rental segments), which investors can tap into.” Chief Executive Officer, MCO Real Estate, Mr. Monachi Okoye, said the latest news about Nigerian economy was good for real estate market, pointing out that as people renew interest in the industry, there would be more employment. He added that purchasing power would rise, leading to demand for property for accommodation, hotels and rental purposes.
“Real estate has been very weak since the recession. We are looking forward to foreign direct investment and local investors. Recovery has been delayed because it relies on wider economy due to its capital-intensive nature unlike others,” he noted.
Apart from new estates that are being unveiled, promoters of the Imperial International Business City (IIBC), a collaboration between HRM, Oba Saheed Ademola Elegushi and Channeldrill Resources Limited, led some groups of investors to the project site.
Most of the investors could not hide their appetite as they registered their interests in the new smart city project. One of them, who did not want his name in print, seized the opportunity to seal a deal on real estate projects at the site.
Taunted to be a city of the future, the new mixed use development is situated on a reclaimed land from the lagoon, encompassing 200 hectares in the neigbourhood of Lekki Phase 1, Lagos.
Managing Director/CEO Channeldrill Resources Ltd., Mr. Femi Akioye, who conducted investors round the project, explained the enormity of works that had gone into its reclamation, sand filling and planned infrastructural works. @Imperial smart city is about live, work and play. What you see here is what you see abroad. We want to change the story of what development is all about,” Akioye told investors.
In order to ensure safe, livable and eco-friendly city, Akioye said that contractors and consultants such as Messrs Dredging Company, Royal Haskoning, Mott Macdonald and Genster Associates have been engaged to make the city a reality. These firms are contractors and consultants working on dredging, reclamation of land, infrastructure engineering and physical planning of the project.
The managing director gave assurance that the city would to be flood-free for over 70 years as efforts had been made to raise its platform to 3.5 meters above the sea level, two metres higher than Lekki Phase I. Speaking on the project, General Manager, Dredging International Services Nig. Ltd, Mr. Stefaan Van Velthoven, said the firm was involved in engineering and preparation of the city, adding that dredgers had been mobilised to site to commence first sand filling.
On duration of his contract, he said: “It will take one year to complete the platform.” Justifying the essence of the project, Elegushin said the new city project became necessary due to escalating human population in Lagos. According to him, “the need has come to expand my territory to accommodate more people. It is not about the money but about legacy.” Chairman, Channeldrill Resources Ltd, Emeka Ndu, said the project was unique on its own, describing consultants working on it as “ world- class.”
He explained that due diligent was done during the reclamation exercise to fortify the city against storm. According to Akioye, the new city offer different sizes of plots, with the minimum plot-size being 650 square metres (sqm), while other sizes include 800sqm, 1000sqm and 1200sqm, 2000sqm, 3000sqm and 5000sqm. In addition, he said that flexible payment plans have been put in place for would-be investors to facilitate easy access.
He said: “There are two things that will define the future of modern cities in the world: Smart and Green and there is no better place to start this campaign in Africa than Nigeria.”
Some of the city’s facilities will include low impact sustainable transportation, good road networks, ICT backbone that support; sustainable solid waste management, regular power supply, surface/waste water management and general utility.
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