By Jude Njoku & Kingsley Adegboye
AGAINST the backdrop of the difficulties in getting titles to land for real estate development, real estate developers under the aegis of Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria, REDAN, have called on the Federal and State governments to simply the process of getting titles to land. The developers also called for a viable mortgage sector that would give loans to property buyers at single interest rates.
The developers who brainstormed on some key issues affecting the real estate sector in 2014, posited that so long as the process of getting titles to land remain cumbersome, real estate development in the country will continue to progress at a snail’s speed.
The one-day brainstorming session which focused on ‘’Real Estate Trends 2014,’’ was put together by the South-West Zone of REDAN and the Centre for Housing Studies, University of Lagos, Akoka.
Looking at the current political climate in Ekiti and Osun States and what it portends for the real estate sector, the President of REDAN, Mr. Olabode Afolayan explained that due to political instability in the country, developers must be very careful about their transactions. According to him, they (developers) should structure their businesses in such a way that they will succeed.
‘’Ensure you perfect all legal issues, perfect your dealings. This period of elections in the country is the best time to get what you want from governments. We need to be concerned about what happens tomorrow. We need to be innovative in our dealings as developers’’, Afolayan said.
Pointing out that real estate can effectively be funded through capital market, a trustee of REDAN, Prof. Timothy Nubi of the Department of Estate Management, University of Lagos, said it is when a developer is able to enlist in the capital market that he can say he has come to stay in the business.
“We have to be innovative as developers in order to survive the harsh economic climate of Nigeria, he said, adding that refinancing is what the developers need in the country to succeed. He stated that allocation of land without certificate of occupancy cannot bring about housing development in Nigeria, arguing that when there are no houses, insecurity will be order of the day in the country.
“Housing is the solution to the country’s dilemma. We have to be involved in urban regeneration to reduce housing deficit in Nigeria. Rather than looking for virgin land for development, we can partner Lagos State Physical Development Agency, LASPHYDA to regenerate some of the old settlements within Lagos metropolis as the state has demonstrated at Oluwole area of Shasha, Lagos.
Real estate developers can make money going into partnership with government in its urban renewal programme rather than going to tie capital down in rural settlements without good roads and other infrastructure to attract sales in the estate.
A primary mortgage operator, Mr. Roland Igbinoba posited that there is hope for real estate developers in the country with the establishment of Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company. According to Igbinoba, the major problem with developers has been inability to source long term funds for development, stressing however, that with the establishment of the Refinance Company, there will be enough funds in the company to service real estate developers across the country who are qualified to access the funds, as the company will refinance itself from turn overs from sales of bonds and loans granted to customers.
Commending the conference organisers, Mr. Yemi Ejidiran, Director, Business Development at UPDC however pointed out that the fund available for real estate development in the country is not enough to bridge the gap of housing deficit in Nigeria.
Calling for creativity in the various schemes of developers to be able to bring down the cost of housing in the nation, Ejidiran said “technology has to play a role in our construction of houses in order to bring down the prices of houses to affordable level”.
In his reaction to the issue of delayed issuance of certificate of occupancy by Lagos state government, Folusho Dipe, an architect and a director in Lagos State Ministry of Housing who represented Commissioner for Housing, said issuance of C of O is not unduly delayed if applicants comply with instructions as required.