Lagos – With the projected $20billion 2019 global investment in the property technology sector, Roland Igbinoba, founder, Roland Igbinoba Real Foundation for Housing & Urban Development (RIRFHUD), has lamented that the country doesn’t stand chances of benefitting from such huge global investment as its property technology sector is still grossly underdeveloped.
Igbinoba who disclosed this at the Nigeria Property Technology Conference (NIPROTECH 2019) in Lagos noted that the sector is an emerging one which is fraught with various challenges in Nigeria; hence, they are pushing for ways to lift the standards and move the market forward.
Citing Lagos as an instance, he stated that data transparency has been one of the major hindrances to making headway in the sector. He then advised that Lagos State needs to let everyone have access to their database as it concerns how many housing units they do annually and how many mortgages they give out within same period.
“NIESV, which is like a big estate valuation arm should be able to access data of Lagos State, like how much a property yields or the value of a property. So data transparency is also key. Government needs to open up access to their data; so that everybody can connect to it.
They are using the data for the good of the market to enable investors to be able to plan and know how to do real estate transaction in the market.”
Other challenges he pointed out include internet connectivity, which he said is not where it ought to be. For crowdfunding, he intimated that the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) is yet to have a regulation on crowdfunding, which is a property technology solution.
“The outcome of this conference is to set up an industry that will be pushing for the activities of property technology in the country; regulation and policy; with good investment climate and we are starting with Lagos State.
“So, we are hoping that with the new government coming in, they can see some of our ideas and see how progressive it is; on the basis of that, they can work with us to do some of these things that we are asking for.”
The mortgage finance expert indicated that finance is not really an issue because if the challenges of transparency, regulation and policy are dealt with, finance will flow in naturally.
“People don’t know where they want to put money. You know when you don’t know where you want to put money you won’t put money nau. If the market were a lot more transparent, people will put money. Once you solve the problem of opacity, then you get money into the market.
“Our work really is to try and see how we can push for Nigeria to begin to come to the map, for people to recognize that, look, we have proptech companies in Nigeria so that they can start thinking of how to invest in our proptech business.”
Ayo Baru, COO/Director, Advisory, Northcourt Real Estate, corroborated Igbinoba as in his presentation, he explained that to develop any form of technology, a lot of money is needed; aside which you also need talent, skill, regulatory environment as well as accessibility to data.
Baru hinted that if its possible to transfer money with the mobile device, why then can’t one be able to buy a house through the same channel.
“We have moved now to a point where you don’t even have to go to a house physically, you can go there using technology. You will sit down in your office, wear the glasses and when they press play, you will see the house you that you want to live in.
“Property owners have to change the way they do things, because proptech has raised the standard. You can’t be talking to me anyhow now because I have gate pass that would tell me who entered my house and when. So, the landlord now cannot afford to be ignorant. Those days people pay two years or more, but now, from six months, we start calculating.”
The future expectations, the COO said are, more artificial intelligence, increase in regulation, and smart buildings that regulate the amount of water and light to be used.
NIPROTECH is an event that brings in all the property technology companies in Nigeria together.
Source: By Nkasiobi Oluikpe