Innovation, Quality Control will aid Real Estate Industry Growth
Stakeholders have said it is only through embracing innovation and quality control that the sustainability of the real estate sector could be guaranteed.
The stakeholders said this at the 2023 Lagos Business School and Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) Real Estate Summit, entitled: “Building for the future: Innovations, Opportunities and Quality Control” held in Lagos.
The forum brought together industry players and government functionaries, who discussed ways of moving the real estate industry forward.
Speaking on 'Building for the future,' the keynote speaker and Founding Partner, Estate Links Limited, Gbenga Olaniyan, emphasised the need to understand the dynamic and nature of the market before building for the next generation.
Olaniyan said property practitioners must make decisions based on accurate information and statistics, adding that the best approach to real estate was to ‘think long-term.’
He said: "Artificial Intelligence (AI) will take over the business of people, who don't use it. So, the onus is on us all to get connected. We need to understand AI before it leaves us behind, because clearly, this is part of the future of construction."
In his remarks, the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, blamed real estate practitioners for not developing properties according to the laws of the state, thus worsening the menace of building collapse in Lagos.
Represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Abimbola Salu-Hundeyin, he said despite the existing challenges, Lagos is forging ahead to find lasting solutions to the state’s housing concerns.
According to him, by 2035, there will be more than 30 million people living in Lagos, and this would present a challenge of providing affordable housing for the teeming population given the limited land mass of the state.
Sanwo-Olu said: "It is pertinent to state that the increasing building collapses and demolitions recorded clearly shows that the practitioners are not building in compliance with regulatory, especially with regard to building approvals, environmental standards, energy efficiency and quality of material."
"Therefore, the need for us as a government to continuously advocate, monitor and enforce where necessary, the extant regulations and standards become necessary with the application of innovation and quality control strategies and technologies."
Speaking during a panel session, the Head of Real Estate Finance, West Africa at Stanbic IBTC, Tola Akinhanmi, noted that interest rate in the last 10 years has been unstable, which had a significant impact on cross-border transactions.
He advised real estate players to eschew borrowing in foreign currency, especially when they are not earning the needed forex to off-set such dollar obligations.
Chairman, NIESV Lagos branch, Gbenga Ismail, said that proper land titling, tax regime, and convenient repatriation of funds are issues that must be addressed to increase investments in the industry.
Ismail, who doubles as the Principal Partner Ismail & Partners, said boosting investors’ confidence was critical as no investor would finance projects without examining the challenges that could hamstring investment.
Principal Partner, Ubosi Eleh & Company, Chudi Ubosi, who spoke on ‘Real Estate Investment Approaches,’ argued that real estate remained an asset class of choice, especially via the instrumentality of land banking.
He said despite the availability of private equity in real estate, developers have continued to struggle to deliver off-plans due to the rising cost of construction.
On his part, Executive Director, Lagos State Development and Property Corporation, Adeniyi Aromolaran, said that the conventional building methods have to change in line with usability and adaptability.
Also, the Chief Executive Officer of Lifecard International, Grace Ofure, noted that construction projects, which cater for the needs of the aged have not been given enough emphasis. She added that lack of collaboration and unhealthy competition had stifled growth of the real estate industry.
The Managing Director, Fine & Country West Africa, Udo Okonjo, harped on the need to embrace change and innovation in an increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous business environment.
For the Managing Director of Octo-5 Holding, Jide Odusolu, transactions in the real estate sector are informal, which makes access to reliable data difficult.
Odusolu urged industry players not to view emerging proptech platforms as adversaries, but aggregators helping with the collation of useful data and insights about the industry.
However, the Co-founder of VENCO Africa, Chude Osiegbu, expressed worries that the prop-tech sector is currently facing a challenge of talent.
Similarly, the Head, Department of Estate, Lead City University, Igho Fayomi, lamented that technology had engendered many changes in the real estate sector in recent years.
Culled from The Guardian Newspaper, December 2023