The uptrend in building and real estate investment is expected to continue in 2022 as investors seem to profile investment in real estate as safe , realiable and high on Return on investment (Rol). Okwy Iroegbu-Chikezie reports

Despite the slowdown in the economy, which reduced household income and crippled consumer purchasing power, the real estate sector has seen increased investment interest with individual and institutional investors raising capital and deploying the same into the sector.

The fact that there is economic slowdown does not mean that is how the market is going to be forever. There will be changes and forceful improvements that will improve project attractiveness experts say.

“We are not really concerned about where we are right now. We believe that we are investing at the right time; when people are not investing it is the right time to invest because that is when you get a better deal for your development,” Obi Nwogugu, former principal at African Capital Alliance (ACA) said in a statement.

There will be a broader perspective to the increase in investment interest in real estate, leading to huge growth in  the sector in 2022 says Paul Onwuanibe, CEO, Landmark Group.

Also another Realtor, Rita Ukpong predicted a market appreciation at an above-average rate in 2022 for three reasons–scarcity, utility and demand.

Buttressing  her  point she said:”Scarcity: there is a shortage of over 20 million housing units. Utility: the home is now the centre of the remote workers’ world by being both the office, recreation and gym. The Millennials are Nigeria’s largest generation, in their prime home-buying years. They look out for trendy, compact and serviced homes and apartments”.

Thelma Ugonna Ohiri-Anyanwu, CFA Management Associate at First Bank of Nigeria in her response to her investment preference for 2022 said:”

The world has experienced 3 waves of the Covid-19 virus and the impact on global economies cannot be overemphasized. With the possibility of a 4th wave, if mutations continue, increases in commodity prices and high inflationary pressures, 2022 will be a year of moving from recovery to resilience.

In 2022, I will be looking out for investments that would provide positive real income, provide stability, grow my funds and add value; hence I am looking to invest in direct agriculture, digital currency, dollar funds/Eurobonds, value stocks and explore real estate investments through investment in short -lets and leasing opportunities. Above all, I plan to invest in myself by acquiring some identified skills”.

Looking ahead, one segment poised for growth is affordable housing. The authorities’ prioritisation of developing such units and facilitating cheaper mortgage options will help more residents become homeowners in the coming years. Overall, reducing dependence on imported building materials is key. While border closures and transit restrictions stalled building activity, it also prompted developers to source materials locally – a trend that is expected to continues aid a developer, Tunde Olatunji.  He also stated that demand for luxury residential real estate will improve  as it seem largely impervious to the downturn as for instance 4 bedroom apartments at a particular luxury apartment block  costs $2.2million per unit on average.

According to him the home office  will continue  to grow, taking up the demand for office consumables with it. This he said may trigger the demand for 4 bed and 5-bed apartments as the future of work is likely to be a hybrid of home and office arrangements at least until Q2 of 2022. He further stated that the year will witness a rise in the use of residences and retail centres as places of worship as the previous year.

Developers are now more attuned to demand, drawing on lessons learnt from previous years. “Absorption rates tend to be higher when project pricing meets market readiness. This has led to the siting of new projects away from CBDs to other relatively commercial but accessible nodes”.The 2,000 hectares Alaro City on Lekki/ Epe expressway and  the Eko Atlantic City project will be advancing to phase 3 including other high end real estate projects.

Stiff regulatory measures and mechanism is also likely to take centre stage as a result of the various building failures  across the nation with attendant loss of lives. Till date the most embarrassing building failure to any government was the 21 storey Fourscore Homes in upscale lkoyi, Lagos that reportedly took the life of it’s owner, Femi Osibona who allegedly flouted regulations to build over and above what was approved for him by the approving agency. This flagrant disobedience to regulatory laws made the

The Nigerian Institute of Building (NIoB) to appeal to the Lagos State government to strictly implement its physical planning laws to stem the rising spate of building collapse in the state.

The Institute’s Lagos Chapter Chairman, Mr Lucky Isename, while sympathising with families of the victims and the state government, said the state had excellent laws lacking adequate implementation

Isename, while identifying causes of building collapse, said the state had beautiful laws which must be implemented without further delay to curb construction failures.

“We need the Lagos State government to strictly implement the Lagos State Physical Planning Permit Authority laws to put a stop to collapse of building in Lagos State,” he said.

Allegations that the developer in the current collapse saga doubled as developer/contractor and used direct labour in building the edifice should be investigated and given commensurate sanctions, he added.

In addition professionals in the built environment are more likely going to pledge to work together and avoid rifts and unhealthy competition. Earlier, president of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) ,   Babagana Mohammed and immediate  past president, Nigerian Institute of Building ( NIOB), Kunle Awobodu, respectively, called on leaders of various professional bodies in the built industry on the need to work together as a team to nip cases of incessant building collapse in the bud.

In a separate forum, the presidents identified rivalry and encroachments into other professions by members among factors the cases of building collapse persist in the industry.

To halt the trend, NIOB former chief, Kunle Awobodu, said it has become expedient for all professionals in the industry to come together, work jointly and shun issues that are promoting rivalry among them.

NSE president, Babagana Mohammed said there was a need to address the issue of building collapse in the sector, suggesting that any step being taken to halt structural failures would require advocacy among building professionals.

According to him, there would be need to work together as a team to confront the menace of building collapse.

There are so many issues in this country which are not alright; and we come up as groups to address these issues. The number one is building collapse. As we heard, when a building collapses, the first culprit from our circle is a builder; but from outsiders, the first culprit is an engineer. So we need to attack this because lives are involved; we are losing our members.

“Builders are doing our work. Builders work with engineers; they also work with quantity surveyors. So we have now brought in a new understanding between most of us in the built industry that we must work as a team, we must watch our backs for the professions to grow,” the NSE president said.

He explained that every professional in the sector has his area of expertise, advising that everybody should be allowed to grow in his area of expertise rather than encroaching on other professions where he lacked know-how.

For this reason, Mohammed said he had been telling leaders of various professional bodies in the built environment on the need to work together.

According to him, they must work as one-strong front so that other people would not encroach into the professions and do what is wrong, while laying the blame at the door-step of engineers or builders.