By Hafsat Ayodele

Critical stakeholders who participated at the 25th anniversary and summit of a Property Development and Management company, UPDC Plc, have called for adoption of technology in the sector, to achieve massive growth.

Exploring pathways to solving the various challenges and maximizing opportunities being created in Nigeria’s booming but volatile real estate sector in the event tagged: ‘Housing Development Imperatives for Nigeria; Prospects and Challenges,’ the experts called for creativity, innovation and adoption of technology.

Speaking during a panel session, a renowned banker, Ann Ribu, said: “Growth and access to finance for real estate projects will increasingly depend on creativity, innovation and adoption of technology.

Also, another real estate expert, Mr. Frank Okosun, identified the high cost of building materials, poor mortgage penetration and problems with land administration as part of the reasons for the housing deficit in the country.

He said: “There is a significant gap between the stock we have and the quality of houses that meet international standards as well as affordable ones.

“Property ownership in Nigeria is still an elitist engagement. There should be a strategy for the big real estate firms to make home ownership affordable for lower income earners,” he added.

Also, a renowned architect, Mr. Alan Davies, while speaking on the trends in the housing sector, noted that Nigeria’s rising young population has led to higher demand in the one room and two room apartments.

He said: “It is unfortunate that everything comes down to cost; not just the cost of building but also of maintenance. Reducing these costs is more critical than ever.”

Earlier in his address, the chairman of UPDC, Mr. Wole Oshin, explored the recent history of the company noting that the company has experienced a turnaround; increasing efficiency and expanding its business.

He said: “UPDC has raised N16 billion in a rights issue in June 2020 and has continued to restructure after the recapitalization. Also in 2020, the facility division of the company became a separate business; UPDC facilities Management ltd. In 2021, Custodian investment ltd became the major shareholder in UPDC.

“As UPDC shifts from recapitalization to maximizing growth and opportunities, we continue to look forward, focusing on achieving profitability in the short to medium term, embarking on projects that increase profit and expand the company’s impact.

“Our real estate firm is the first real estate company to have been listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, and offers the most diversified portfolio of residential, commercial, retail and hospitality assets,” Mr Oshin added.