Why progress is slow in real estate sector, by experts

Principal Partner, Adekunle Omotola and Co, Kunle Omotola (left); Permanent Secretary, Lands Bureau, Lagos, Bode Agoro; founder and Chief Executive, 3Invest, Ruth Obih-Obuah and Chief Executive, Eximia Realty Limited, Hakeem Ogunniran, at the Real Estate Unite Summit in Lagos…yesterday PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI

Experts in real estate yesterday blamed policy inconsistencies, delay in legal process, poor state of infrastructure and inadequate access to finance for the slow progress recorded by the sector in the country.

According to the experts, who were drawn from the public and private sectors, only collaborative efforts by players in the industry can position it on the path of growth to contribute its quota to the nation’s economic development.

They spoke at the 7th edition of the yearly Real Estate Unite summit organized by 3Invest, a real estate company, in Lagos.

It was tagged “The Conversation Summit.”

The Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Eximia Realty Limited, Mr. Hakeem Ogunniran, who spoke on “Connecting the dots: Nexus between policy, legal and regulatory framework and real estate growth in Nigeria”, noted that government inconsistent policy, lack of infrastructure and high cost of construction had inhibited growth in the sector.

He said although some significant reforms had been made in the sector, leading to the nation’s improving record in the ease of doing business rating, it was still suffering severe challenges that required consistent and collaborative efforts to overcome.

The developer, who is a former managing director of UACN Property Development Company Plc, noted the important role of infrastructure in the growth of the sector, saying it constituted between 15 to 20 percent of the cost of development.

On the issue of funding, Ogunniran expressed regret that access to long-term funds is very limited, while the available offshore funding is bedeviled by the velocity of the foreign exchange market.

According to him, the nation can make progress when all stakeholders come together to ensure strict compliance with some positive government policies, such as the Nigeria Housing Finance programme.

The Chief Executive Officer, Nedcomaoks Limited, Mr. Kennedy Okonkwo, called for the protection of property rights by governments despite party affiliations.

He recalled the recent demolition of a television house in Ibadan, Oyo State, stressing that revocation of titles by successive government do not encourage investment in the real estate sector.

The Chief Executive Officer of Palton Moragn Holdings, Adesope Adeyinka, said it was ironical that government, which wants to solve housing problems, always come out with unfavourable policies.

He lamented that government is treating the issue of perfection of titles and land acquisition as business instead of service, thereby working against its intention to solve housing problems.

In her address, the organizer of the summit and Chief Executive,3Invest, Mrs. Ruth Obih-Obuah, noted the importance of the real estate as the most transformative sector of any economy and one of the most effective tools for poverty alleviation and job creation.

She said the sector was capable of contributing meaningfully towards the development of the economy, if adequately structured.

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