Estate Developers innovate to stay afloat, smaller now profitable

Faced with a sharp fall in purchasing power, real estate developers in the country are having to look for innovative ways to keep their houses occupied. Despite a housing deficit now estimated to be in excess of 20 million, many Nigerians are not in position to buy into the new houses being developed in many parts of the country due a sharp decline in the purchasing power of the middle class even as many seek greener pastures outside the country. Nigeria is currently estimated to be losing about 12 doctors every week to Europe and America even as other professional also flee the country.

Not surprising vacancy rates in highbrow areas of Lagos and Abuja are in excess of 40 percent for both commercial and non-commercial properties leaving many developers struggling to offload new developments into the hands of consumers who are not in a position to buy. Even though developers insist that the wide housing gap offers opportunities for developers to sell their property if the pricing is right.

“These opportunities are not for those we call ‘unmotivated sellers’ who cling to old prices and are not ready to make the shift,” explained Udo Okonjo, the chair/CEO, Fine and Country West Africa, who also pointed out that even in the highbrow locations like Ikoyi in Lagos where residential vacancy rate is over 40 percent, demand is still strong for apartments when the price and size are right.

Players in the industry says that the new reality of the market is that developers are experiencing over supply in high end residential buildings and also in A-grade commercial office space but under supply in the low end of the residential market where demand is weak.

As a way out of the over-supply, under-supply challenge, some developers are ‘redeveloping’ into smaller units of two-bedroom and studio apartments for the short-let market. In the case of office space, smaller spaces are now being offered for co-working stations.
Players in the industry have told BusinessDay that short-let apartments are now gaining momentum due to the challenging economic environment.

“This increased demand has spurred savvy business operators to accelerate their expansion plans, seeking out strategically located residential buildings or vacant apartments in prime areas to be converted into short-let apartments to meet the flexible needs of people who require such accommodation,” explained Tayo Odunsi, CEO, Northcourt Real Estate.

Besides security issues and the strong desire by young professionals who want to live in exclusive locations to have a feel of luxury living, Erejuwa Gbadebo, CEO, International Real Estate Partners (IREP), notes an upsurge in demand by corporates who would rather pay for short-let apartments for their expatriate staff, who may be in the country for short periods of time.

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In line with the increased demand, short-let apartments are now popular in places like Ikeja GRA, Victoria Island, Ikoyi, Osborne Foreshore, Lekki, Festac Town, all in Lagos. In Abuja, they could be found in such expensive locations as Maitama, Asokoro, Wuse, while in Port Harcourt they are found in Old GRA and Trans-Amadi.

“These are locations where house prices are quite high and the young professionals who cannot afford such prices still want to have a feel of such locations go for short-let apartments,” explained Azubuike Unigwe, Managing Partner, Unigwe and Co, a firm of estate surveyors and valuers.

Most expatriates, top executives and consultants to blue chip companies who wish to stay in town for a week or more, prefer these serviced apartments because of the comfortable ambience which most hotels lack. These apartments also offer some level of privacy which some hotel brands don’t give.

Analysts point out that another reason for the growth of shot-let market is the flexibility enjoyed by guests when compared to hotel rooms, explaining that it accommodates client’s guests, relatives, friends which are not allowed in some hotel rooms.

Another major reason is the affordability. findings reveal that short-let apartments are cheaper compared to hotel room rates. A two-bedroom serviced apartment in 1004 Estate in Victoria Island, Lagos costs N35,000 per night on short-let, while a standard hotel room costs an average of N60,000 per night within the same neighbourhood. A two-bedroom apartment at the estate sells for N45 million to N50 million.

In Festac Town where UPDC offers serviced short-let apartments at its The Residences, a two-bedroom apartment sells for N65 million, but the short-let goes for N30,000 to N40,000 per night. Golden Tulip Hotel, in the same ‘compound’ with The Residences charges between N50,000 and N60,000 per night.

In Ikoyi, a two-bedroom apartment lets for average of N50,000 per night, while at Parkview estate, Ikoyi it costs an average of N40,000 for same size apartment with clients expected to pay a minimum of one-week duration. This is a location where the minimum rent for a three-bedroom apartment is between N20 million and N25 million per annum.

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In the commercial segment of the market, developers are a lot more innovative and creative. This is one segment of the market where vacancy rate has gone up significantly because some corporate tenants have changed office location. Some that were in two to three floors have now scaled down to one floor because they have sent away a good number of their staff due to reduced business activities.

For retail, some retailers have had to move out of the malls completely. Some landlords have reduced rents. There are cases where landlords have asked tenants to stop paying rents altogether, but to just pay the service charge to enable them maintain the mall.

Gbenga Olaniyan, CEO, Estate Links, confirmed that some A-grade office buildings now offer smaller spaces like 200-500 square metres where a minimum of 1000 square metres were on offer before now, stressing that this was the only way to attract more tenants to such buildings and to increase occupancy level.

Tenants are also offered concessions in form of quarterly instead of yearly rents payment; reduced service charge, energy efficiency and reduced cost; and product differentiation aimed at attracting more tenants and increasing workers’ convenience and productivity in the building

CHUKA UROKO

Real Estate developers, investors and built environment experts storm Johannesburg, Sept 19

 

The summit’s aims to create a platform for African and global real estate data and transparency expects to share insights, best practice and solidify global and regional investor confidence in Africa’s high growth economies are some of the primary objectives of the 9th annual API Summit & Expo taking place in Johannesburg on 20 and 21 September 2018.

Speaking ahead of what has become known as African property’s multi-billion dollar gathering, London-based, Jeremy Kelly, of JLL, will present the African Chapter of their market leading Global Real Estate and Transparency Index (GRETI) to 600 of the continent’s leading real estate developers and investors.

Global thought Recognised as a global thought leader and advocate for transparency and data across global real estate markets, Kelly will lead the conversation on the importance of data and transparency which are vital in establishing market health and making better decisions.

“Our aim at the summit will be to draw attention to the importance of real estate transparency, not only in boosting investment, but also enhancing business efficiencies, raising living standards and safeguarding the environment,” says Kelly.

A unique perspective By drawing on specific regional and global parallels, Kelly will provide a unique perspective and context on how African markets can move up the “transparency spectrum” to the continent’s decision makers.

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“We hope our presentation will be a catalyst for event participants to think about how they can practically contribute to enhancing transparency in Africa,” says Kelly.

While African countries upward movement in GRETI in 2014 and 2016 were notable – these were mostly off of a low base says Kelly.
Adding that: “In this year’s version only 10 of the 15 African markets have improved, which has been led by Nigeria and Kenya.” Data imperative in real estate However, despite this incremental movement up the transparency ladder by the continent’s markets, the most encouraging aspect of this year’s report for Kelly is the greater volume and quality of data collected by African firms such as Sagaci Research and Estate intel.

“Overall we continue to see advances made in areas such as the quality and frequency of valuations across many markets in sub-Saharan Africa, while market data availability has also continued to improve for select countries and sectors (such as logistics and hotels).” Data according to Kenya based, Charles Ballard, of Sagaci Research one of the firms credited for developing greater actionable insight into African growing retail sector is that data is “limited and or obsolete.” The challenge, he explains is that Africa’s youthful population, informality and rapid growth makes measurement challenging to measure but “particularly dynamic.” “Younger consumers tend to be less conservative and more open to trying new things – the rapidity with which Kenyan consumers adopted mobile money is an excellent example of this trend,” he says.

Launching of Estate data app they added that these developments make it even more critical for data to be up to date and transparent in Africa and not “inconsistent and fragmented”, which is one of the primary challenges encountered by Dolapo Omidire of Nigeria’s Estate intel.

To mitigate these challenges and use advances in Proptech and relevant data, Omidire will use the API Summit to gain insights and launch Estate intel’s new data app.
“The app will be home to the most extensive collection of commercial property data points in Nigeria.

We are confident it will change the way real estate decisions are made across the continent.” Forward-thinking and embracing new technology to drive data acquisition and development to improve data access and decision making is an area in which Kelly believes Africa can use to leap ahead of other markets.

“Africa has an opportunity at this point to utilise blockchain for land registries or transactions; ‘smart’ buildings and infrastructure for facilities management or repair; or new database capabilities for collaborative data sharing between market participants – to jumpstart the traditional methods of improving market data and building real estate markets that are fit for the future.”

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According to the host of the 9th API Summit & Expo, Kfir Rusin: “Increasing data flow and transparency are absolutely pivotal to the development and deepening of investment in the continent’s property markets.” Adding that “Being able to bring global and Africa pioneers together at the API Summit & Expo and aid them in leveraging our platform to elevate the importance of data and transparency as a key driver of investment growth is a primary objective of the conference.”

API events The Africa Property Investment Summit & Expo (API) is Africa’s largest and most premier real estate event. It connects the most influential local and international Africa property stakeholders, driving investment and development into a wide range of real estate and infrastructure projects and developments across the continent.

API Events deliver Africa’s most renowned events in real estate investment and development.
Our events across the continent have become the ultimate meeting places for Africa’s property market to learn, network and most importantly to do deals.

The company also hosts the API Awards – these prestigious awards provide a platform for distinguished developers, suppliers and owners in the African real estate industry, to showcase their best projects and services.

FG, FISH to inaugurate over 150 Houses In October

 

The Federal Government Staff Housing Loans Board (FGSHLB) is set to inaugurate over 150 houses in Kuje Area Council, Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The executive secretary of the board, Dr Hannatu Fika, made this known while speaking to Journalists at the sideline of the governing board meeting , at the Federal Secretariat in Abuja.

Fika said that the inauguration would be part of events to commemorate the October 1 Independence Day, adding that the houses would be in conjunction to the Federal Integrated Staff Housing (FISH) programme.

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“We will be commissioning two housing estates in Kuje, which comprise of 66 and 100 houses each, the estates have been built and few finishing touches are being put in place. We are also looking at developing our plot of land, which was allocated to the board by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), to enable us construct affordable houses for public servants. A lot of public servants have indicated their interest to own houses. A giant part of the houses to be constructed will be part of the FISH programme, where we give houses in lieu of the cash loan,’’ she said.

Commenting on the N1 billion renovation loans, Fika said, public servants in the North East, Benue and Plateau States whose houses were affected by the insurgency were being prioritised. She added that the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) had approved the list of the affected public servants and would release N1billion to the board for this purpose.

Bidon Mibzar

FMBN meets V.P over 500Billion Naira Recapitalization

The Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria plans to recapitalise to the tune of N500 billion, its Managing Director, Ahmed Dangiwa, has said.

Dangiwa, who spoke with State House correspondents after a closed door meeting with Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, at the Presidential Villa, said the recapitalisation would boost service delivery.

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He said: “We came to see the vice president as a follow up to our request on recapitalisation and other requests and also to brief the vice president about our activities so far.

“We have briefed him on some of the activities we have rolled out like the Rent-to- Own and the introduction of equity contributions by the National Housing Fund that we have just commenced.

“We have to seek recapitalisation because over time, even commercial banks have recapitalised; N5 billion has been the share capital of the bank, but only N2.5 billion has been paid.

“Even other Private Mortgage Banks have recapitalised over N5 billion; with the recapitalisation of N500 billion, we will attract investment both local and informal-over 10 times of that investment and it is going to reposition the bank properly.”

According to him, under the Rent-to-Own product, one does not need to have any equity contribution, as one will enter into the house as a tenant, and over the years, it becomes one’s property like owner occupier.

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Dangiwa said that under the new programmes, one would find the estate that one wanted, enter there in collaboration with one’s employer; and then the house becomes one’s property.

The managing director said that the FMBN had funded estates in over 20 states of the federation, which any contributor to NHF could go and choose the house he wanted within the estates.

He said that the FMBN offices within the states would profile the buyer and then send to the head office for approval, adding that the bank had committed over N65 billion to the programme.

Dangiwa said that the vice president appreciated the efforts FMBN was making and promised to take the recapitalisation request to the National Economic Council meeting for further deliberations.

He said that there was need for Nigerians to key into the Rent-to-Own programe and own their own houses.

 

Countries could see more Real Estate Investment

Canada and Germany have been identified as the world’s most underweight real estate investment markets and are set to attract billions of dollars of per year.

A new analysis, part of Knight Frank’s Active Capital report, has been conducted using a bespoke ‘gravity’ model, based on the models used to forecast international trade and says these two nations could see $4.5 billion and £3.1 billion of property capital per year respectively.

Canada had £2.6 billion of foreign real estate investment in 2017 and can expect to see a further £4.5 billion. Germany could see £3.1 billion of investment per year, Switzerland and Sweden, both $1.8 billion, France £1.6 billion and Belgium £1.1 billion.

The study also suggest that both Malaysia and Indonesia could see annual real estate investment of $1 billion, Austria some $0.9 billion, down from $3.8 billion in 2017 and Mexico some $0.8 billion, up from $0.1 billion last year.

For the first time, Knight Frank has created a model encompassing over 40 variables which impact on inbound real estate investment, including GDP per capita, relative strength of currency and location of the destination country.
Crucially, the model also considers a range of social and cultural factors that impact upon the flow of capital from one country to another, such as shared language, existing trade agreements, and shared common religious worship.

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The analysis shows that six countries in Europe are attracting less inbound real estate investment than expected. Germany, which Knight Frank calculates could support an additional $3.1 billion per year, is the most underweight European market, followed by Switzerland, Sweden, France and Belgium.

Annual investment into Austria is also significantly below the level forecast by Knight Frank’s gravity model while outside Europe, Knight Frank identifies current inbound real estate capital into emerging markets Indonesia and Malaysia as $1 billion per annum below the potential level.

“For the first time we have applied the type of spatial interaction model used to forecast global trade to estimate the level of real estate investment that global markets could support,” said William Matthews, head of commercial research at Knight Frank.

“By looking at the market and economic fundamentals, and by unpicking the socio-economic factors which impact on the flow of capital between individual countries, we have found that Canada and some of Europe’s most advanced real estate markets, including Germany and France, could support more inbound investment,” he explained.

“While competition provided by domestic investors in each market is one factor that can crowd out inbound investment, our feeling is that this sort of barrier will become less important over time, as appetite for cross border transactions increases,”he added.

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According to Ole Sauer, head of capital markets for Berlin at Knight Frank, the potential inbound capital will have a hugely positive effect on domestic German investors and the overall positive sentiment surrounding the nation’s healthy real estate market.

‘This confidence is already leading to a surge in new Grade A office developments, an area where Germany is definitely behind international competing markets who have a far greater number of state of the art office complexes,’ he added

Guardian Property

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