Experts have advised prospective investors to develop good knowledge of available data and information in the real estate sector before making investment.

They spoke at the maiden edition of The Covenant Nation (TCN) real estate summit held in Lagos.

Former Lagos Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mr. Toyin Ayinde, said people erroneously see real estate as magic touch, whereby one becomes a billionaire overnight, whereas that is not the case.

He stressed the need for investors to familiarise with available data in the sector, adding that this will empower them to make better decisions.

Ayinde, who is also the President of the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP), stated that to get planning permit, there are regulations and laws that have been put in place to ensure that people situate their proposals in the right places to have a seamless transaction.

He said bottlenecks in the process will be reduced when developers and constructors find out the processes and what they are supposed to do, to get their approval timely.

The Chief Executive Officer, Northcourt Real Estate, Mr. Tayo Odunsi, explained that the next step after getting information about the industry is to understand the economy of the housing market.

He noted that the market is characterised by strong macro-economic headwinds, high inflationary environment, weakened external reserves, high exchange rate regime, declining government revenue and ability to borrow. These, he said, are major threats to real estate growth in the country.

Chief Executive Officer, Damilare Baker Projects, Mr. Laolu Alabi, said the summit is an attempt to bridge the information gap not only for those who see real estate as an investment vehicle, but also for individuals who desire to own their first home.

Laolu, an architect, said: “The main ingredient for success in real estate, is information and not money. As long as we live in a property or sleep in a piece of land, we are all involved one way or the other in the real estate eco-system. The summit has therefore been designed as a confluence where major players in both the private sector and in government can share critical information and enlighten the people on how to navigate the real estate terrain.”

Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Housing, Mrs. Toke Benson-Awoyinka, said: “To rescue the citizens from being defrauded by agents and developers, we looked at the 2006 laws and thought it would be better for us to improve on it and included estate agents, who were marketing, but also the developers because the developers are the one who builds, alongside landowners. The intent of the law is to make sure that everybody is captured.’’