There has been so many exciting developments within Windsor, the multinational property and investment Group since it emerged on the real estate scene in 2014. Not only have the Group launched real estate investments in the United Kingdom, Dubai, Nigeria, USA, Brazil and the French Riviera, they have also been rated as the leading real estate advisory company in West Africa. Windsor is also working on projects that will give it access to over 40,000 properties worldwide. We asked CEO Richard Vedelago some questions about Windsor.
How have you managed the steady growth at Windsor since 2014?
Since our inception in 2014, Windsor Real Estate has redefined the business of real estate in Africa. We modernized and advanced the industry with the introduction of high-end international developments to African investors. We have since developed into a fully-fledged global 360-degree property advisory firm that offers world-class solutions for both developers and investors alike. We also work to consistently maintain and manage evolving partnerships, based on transparency and mutual trust, which is at the foundation of our long-lasting client relationships. As we expand our global footprint we are committed to these principles, which have effectively served our company and clients through the years.
How would you describe the Windsor strategy?
Our strategy has always been to create the best possible environment for anyone who interacts with our offering and services, whether individual buyers, developers, investors or real estate funds. By so doing, we have been able to become the premier real estate advisory in West Africa. We also partner with top tier international developers such as Berkeley Homes London and Emaar Properties Dubai. These are some of the benefits which allows our clients to make the best real estate investments within the best projects globally.
A key to business in the real estate sector is “adapting to stay relevant.” How has that been reflected in your approach in each of the local market you are in?
We pride ourself on being an innovative and dynamic company, we always think outside the box to ensure our clients benefit from our approach. Our strategy has always been about working with the best developers and providers and so doing, we ensure we also are the best in our markets. Our team is always focused on finding the right balance between traditional and new practices as well as a focus on emergent technologies and social media strategies, that can help generate maximum exposure, better returns so as to stay ahead of the curve.
How concerned are you about the affordability of apartments?
I have always been concerned with the creation of an inflated market that has no real basis for the valuation of property. It is an issue in the West Africa real estate business which needs to be dealt with, otherwise, it would create a very dangerous precedent which will be catastrophic once it implodes as we saw in 2007/8 where the global real estate market collapsed. We need to put in measures that ensure a competitive market which in turn will allow pricing to become regularised.
What are Windsor’s main accomplishments, and the factors behind your strategy?
Our biggest accomplishment has been becoming the leading real estate advisory company in West Africa within 5 years. We have been able to expand with offices in London, Dubai, Lagos, Abuja, Abidjan and are looking to open up offices in Kenya, Mozambique and South Africa by the end of 2020. On top of that, we have worked on some of the best projects globally, creating a pipeline that gives us access to over 40,000 properties worldwide.
What are the prospects that exist in African real estate sector that you’re benefitting from?
The African real estate market is benefiting from great demand for good projects. People want to invest locally in good projects that get delivered on time. This reality can only be good for the African market as it pushes developers to improve their projects and bring more modern and viable projects to market. Our market isn’t saturated yet because we still haven’t hit the ceiling and there’s always the possibility for improvement and that creates an evolving market that can only benefit investors.
What are the real estate projects you see as most interesting in Sub-Saharan Africa?
I’ve seen a number of very exciting projects coming up, the Abatta Village project in Abidjan done by Koffi and Diabate architects is a very interesting and innovative project. The Blue Water Lagos project being done by ACA and Elalan in Lekki are some other outstanding project I’ve seen in recent times.
Is there an understanding of how important the real estate industry is to the success of megacities?
I do think people somewhat take it for granted because housing is such an important reality of megacities that if gotten wrong on managed badly can cripple the whole quality of lif of city. I think Lagos state, in recent years, has shown the world that an overpopulated city can still be salvaged with very smart and reactive initiatives that can turn cities around for the better.
What trends will drive real estate development in the future?
Value for money, as our buyers get smarter and more savvy clients are looking fora better return of investment. The days of the African man that buys property just for the sake buying property has gone and we are seeing the dawn of the very educated and intelligent African real estate investor.
Describe your dream property.
Well I’d have to say contemporary, minimalist, modern and functional. I’m a big believer of less is more, and the space we live in should be an extension of who we are. As one of my favourite Japanese architects Tadao Ando once said about his projects ‘ If you give people nothingness, they can ponder what can be achieved from that nothingness. ‘, I definitely need to be inspired by the space I live in to continue to be innovative.
What’s your favourite development in Windsor, and what’s its backstory?
All our projects are special and different, whether, for investment, holiday home, local and international properties, we have all the solutions for our clients. But If I really had to pick one at the moment it would be the Clarendon project in North London that is being developed by Berkely Homes which we launched in Abuja and Lagos recently. It’s a wonderful project that clients will really benefit from. They are located only moments away from the Emirates and White Hart Lane stadiums and is surrounded by some of the best schools in London. This is probably the best project I’ve seen in a very long time.
What potential does luxury property hold for ultra-high net worth individuals as an investment?
Luxury property is as good as any real estate investment that’s based on the principles of buying the right project at the right price. I would say we are going through an unprecedented time where we are seeing more millionaire and billionaires created than at any point in history and that can only bode well for the demand of luxury property.
What has been the most gratifying event you have experienced since starting the Windsor project?
Aside from doing this interview, you mean?! I’d say every morning when I get into the office, there is nothing more gratifying than seeing a thing you have created with your team and the endless potential it has for growth and impact.
Anything else you have your eye on right now?
Wrotham Windsor is in the final stages of launching its own residential project in Abuja, I’m very excited about this project as I’m hoping we will deliver something that will change the way we see modern-day living in Nigeria. Watch this space, I would hate to ruin the surprise by saying too much.