… huge population, supply-demand mismatch spur appetite
Foreign investors are bullish about the long-term growth prospect of Nigeria’s real estate industry amid the sluggish recovery of the broader economy, as they believe the country’s rapidly growing population and mismatch between supply and demand hold opportunity in the long term.
They envisage growth of Nigeria’s economy, which stood at 1.94 percent in the second quarter of the year, to return to pre-recession level in the next decade, foreseeing a boon for the sector, given that it mirrors the trend in the macro-economy.
“The Nigerian market determines the fate of the entire African market. If Nigeria won’t be successful, it will be same for Africa,” said Derick Roper, CEO at South African-based Novare Equity Partners at the recently held African Real Estate Conference in Lagos.
Roper said Nigeria’s huge population of about 200 million was what had been driving his firm’s decision to continue investing in the country.
“In the next five to 10 years, Nigeria will provide opportunities for future-minded investors, albeit it requires long-term planning,” he said.
A recent report published by the United Nations titled ‘World Population Prospects’ puts Nigeria’s population at 402 million by 2050, noting Nigeria will unseat the United States as world’s third most populous nation.
But Nigeria’s population growth currently at 2.6 percent continues to outperform economic growth for four years running. And it is expected to quadruple by 2050 without enough amenities and employment to sustain such a huge figure.
According to Kevin Teerovengadum, a co-founder of Proptech Africa, the mismatch between supply and demand is what makes Nigeria his choice market for investment.
“If we were to go by the ease of doing business, we won’t establish in Nigeria. But the gap between supply and effective demand is enough incentive for us,” said Teeroovengadum at the conference.
“It all boils down to your market strategies, and keeping it consistent,” he posited.
Nigeria’s real estate sector contracted 3.8 percent in the second quarter, after a marginal 0.93 percent expansion in the preceding quarter.
The market is currently facing a glut of commercial real estate, particularly prime office buildings amid weak demand due to squeezed purchasing power of consumers.
But experts say a period of economic downturn or gradual pick-up is the best time to invest to leverage value appreciation prior to market boom.
The efforts of the Federal Government to deliver affordable housing units have not paid off, as over 50 percent of Nigerians are yet to become homeowners.
This is because of the high mortgage rate of over 20 percent, rigorous process in mortgage application and oversupply as well as low liquidity for funding. Little wonder the housing sector contributes abysmally to the broader economy.