By Ayo Onikoyi
Since the Coronavirus pandemic became a global catastrophe, leaving everything spreadeagled in its wake, human lives and all that concerns humankind are never the way they used to be.
Many lives have been lost, businesses have been shut down and there’s seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel as the world continues to grapple with the deadly virus and its devastating effects.
The world’ biggest economies are on their knees and the meltdown has left nothing unscathed. Every known business to man has all gone under. Every industry; aviation, oil and gas, manufacturing, science and technology and even real estate have all felt the impact of the pandemic and little hope seems to be in sight.
In a recent chat with Vanguard, the Chief Executive Officer of Hampton-Row Real Estate company, Kazeem Bello-Osagie takes a look at the effects of the pandemic on his own neck of the economic wood, which is real estate.
According to him, it is almost impossible to quantify the negative impact of the pandemic on the industry as every sector has felt the heat.
“As you know, we are an oil dependent economy and the recent unprecedented crash in the oil prices in the global market, indicates that government will slow down on their spending, which will have a snowballing effect on the real estate market, spiraling down to property developers. Another catalyst in the past for the real estate growth in Nigeria has been funds from the Diaspora and most of these developed economies that warehouse these funds are already in recession, hence we can foresee the ripple effect it would have on Nigerians wanting to repatriate funds, to invest in the real estate market in Nigeria,” he said, adding that his own personal business has not been immuned from the consequence.
He said, “ For us at Hampton row, it has directly affected us , as we have had to suspend construction in line with the social distancing and lockdown order. It has also slowed down sales, as the mindset of potential subscribers is that cash is king now, especially as we are dealing with a virus, that the world still does not understand, making it difficult for a potential subscriber to plan and forecast . These are really difficult and scary times , but there will still be a lot of positives in the post Covid19 era in the real estate sector once the world can wriggle her way out of this crisis.”
For Nigeria, the Edo State-born believes everything is tied to oil and optimistic that as soon as oil prices go back up, the economy will begin to pick with ripple effect on all sectors of the economy.
Hear him, “The singular reason that the oil prices have dropped to a record low as never been seen in recent times is simply because the world major economies are in a crisis mode and fully in lockdown, which means that the demand for our crude oil has decreased while supply of product has completely outweighed the demand for our oil. While striking a clear balance between reality and being optimistic, the honest truth is that this does not mean that the demand for crude is extinct , as what is happening is more or less a temporal thing, subject to when normalcy will return and the demand for our crude will be on the increase and prices for oil will somewhat stabilize. As I earlier mentioned , you can cannot divorce the Nigerian economy from oil, once the prices in the world market drop, every other sector is directly or indirectly affected. In a nutshell , the real estate will benefit or will be sustained by the fresh demand for the Nigerian crude oil, once the western world returns to the work.”
Kazeem Bello-Osagie is from the popular Bello-Osagie family of Edo State. He was born 44 years ago to Chief Shittu Bello Osagie and Mrs Taminoene Amy Bello-Osagie. His father was a Managing Director in Bendel Breweries and Bendel Cement Company in the Mid-Western region during the Second Republic.
He established Hampton-Row Real Estates in 2014 , but had actively been involved in the real estate sector for over 15 years in the informal sector, while he still ran QUO Courier & Logistics before realizing there was a major gap in the housing industry in Nigeria, in areas of finishing and transferring real value to the end users.
According to him, their business model is building mini estates in clusters. Their signature project in Lekki is the “The Domicile By Hampton Row 1 & 2”.