Experts who gathered at the real estate outlook conference for 2017 have proffered a mixed economic outlook for the sector seen to be reflecting the current state of business activities in Nigeria.
According to the Managing Director, Alphacrux Limited, Tobi Adama, the sector in 2017 is still reeling from the effects of the economic downturn and the implications have continued to play out in the current year. Hence, the need to bring together experts to discuss issues bordering on strategic planning and what investors and developers can do differently in strange times like this.
"We have decided to bring stakeholders together because the focus has shifted and the value composition has since changed. We must understand where we are going and embrace the right business approach, because despiterecession a few number of real estate companies are still making gains." Adama said.In his narrative, the Managing Director, Northcourt, Tayo Odunsi who gave a background of activities in 2016, observed it was a year of correction in the country's real estate. He noted rising inflation (18.3%); successive declines in GDP growth rate in three quarters; insurgency in the North-East-cum-militants' unrest in the Niger-Delta; weakening currency and reduced public revenue occasioned by the global oil glut were all indicators which ensured a dip in fortune at the property market, compelling an official declaration of recession on the entire economy."Even as the economy went down, the development pipeline shrunk drastically forcing quality and price to become the major factor for market's competitiveness and survival. This left market operators struggling to march quality with price making vacancy rate rise unabatedly in the country," says Odunsi.
It was further gathered from the Northcourt's statistical data collected from a survey for the year that residential vacancy rate rose to 31.46% in Lagos and 25.6% in Abuja, while Port Harcourt recorded the lowest put at 13%.Commenting on the high vacancy rate in Lagos, Odunsi opined: "this may be partly due to Lagos having the highest built up area, development stock and investment focus in the country." He also said, while 233,735 sqm office spaces remain underdeveloped in the country, the average co-working space has 46% more members than it did two years ago with Nigeria having the 4th highest number of co-working locations in Africa.The CEO Landmark group, Paul Onwuanibe, while challenging operators not to be deterred with the prevalent downturns, sees avalanche of opportunities in the market in 2017, saying investors must recognise the importance of the nation's demographic potentials and fashion out the proper market segmentation strategy to adequately capture all market segments."Considering our demographic dividends, there are still lots of opportunities everywhere you turn in real estate, but the pursuit of excellence and value is key to success. As investors and business owners, our job is to pursue our long dreams by predicting the future and not to dwell on the current undoings in the economy."Similarly, Co-founder/CEO, Fibre, Obinna Okwodu, while canvassing for an improved usage of digital platforms, called on sector operators to stop underestimating how much they achieve with a robust online presence.