A property development company, The Address Homes, has commended the drive of the Lagos State Government to tackle quackery and fraudulent activities in the real estate sector, describing the just-concluded 3rd Real Estate Market Place Conference and Exhibition as a huge platform created to deepen professionalism in the industry.

The luxury property development company said the decision of the government through the Lagos State Real Estate Regulatory Authority, LASRERA to create a platform for players in the industry to discuss safety, technology, policies and showcase their products and services reinforces Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s administration’s commitment to boost the sector.

The 3rd conference and exhibition with the theme: “Town Hall Meeting on the Lagos Real Estate Emerging Markets- Mitigating the Potential Risks” was held last Tuesday and Wednesday at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.

The Address Homes which was one of the major sponsors of the event said it decided to partner with the Lagos State government on the project because of its desire to enthrone complete sanitisation of the industry and enhance growth in the burgeoning sector.

Speaking at the sideline of the Conference and Exhibition, Mr Segun Ogunbiyi, Marketing Manager, The Address Homes, said the company’s partnership with the government was purely for promoting integrity, professionalism, customer satisfaction and safety in the real estate industry in Nigeria.

According to Ogunbiyi, while the collaboration was meant to curb unscrupulous practices and promote global best practices and investment opportunities in the sector, the firm has continued to change the face of real estate development through the delivery of quality homes to high-income luxury homes seekers.

“The real estate market has different segments. There is an emerging market, there is a mid-market within the grassroots, and there is the upper-echelon market. We play in the upper echelon market whereby we build luxury homes for the VIPs, captains of industry, and oil and gas gurus. Those are the people we focus on because they can afford our properties.

“Our market is narrowed to a particular set of individuals and not the whole market.”

According to him, some of the company’s projects, included The Luxuria, on Alexander Road, Dan on Banana Road, Ikoyi, and Osapa London in Lekki, adding that the firm has also extended construction to Ikeja, GRA and Keffi Street, Ikoyi.

“When talking about luxury homes, standard housing construction, top-notch finishing and functionality location, affordability and serenity, The Address Homes is always there.

“We focus on this segment because we are in business to make a margin. We have seen the market and we discovered that there is a particular set of people that want the best location.

“We concentrate in urban locations. Sometimes, we approach the owner, go into a joint venture, build, operate and transfer to the owner,” he said.

Ogunbiyi, while adding that the Address Home has been known for professionalism, quality building with detailed finishing that can stand the test of time, noted, “We don’t cut corners; we build standard projects that stand the test of time. We do not compromise. That is the difference, and our finishing is top-notch.”

Also speaking at the conference, Morohuntoye Olufunke of the Client Service, Marketing unit of The Address Homes said the idea behind the conference aligns with the core values of the company which are hinged on professionalism, integrity and customer satisfaction.

“As a realtor and stakeholder, you must have knowledge of what is going on in the industry; you must also know that there are checks and balances in the operations within the sector and those are part of what this marketplace is designed to address. Various stakeholders within the industry have been able to interact and share ideas that can uplift the real estate sector.

“As one of the exhibitors, the event has been able to create a platform for us to showcase our potential to do things differently. We have said that The Address Homes doesn’t just do construction, we build homes with a combination of high-class contemporary architectural design and high-level finishes with respect to designs and styles that meet consumer passion, taste and comfort. Our projects including The Luxuria, located on Alexander Road, Dan and Dan located on Banana Road, Ikoyi, Osapa London among others speak of the difference we bring into construction,” she said.

Speaking earlier at the conference and exhibition, Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu who was represented by his deputy, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, described the real estate sector as the biggest employer of labour in the country with the potential to open the floodgate of economic prosperity for not only the state but the nation.

The governor said the industry with a propensity to be the cash cow for the people needs to be protected against quackery, and unprofessional attitudes of practitioners who could compromise safety and hurt the citizens.

He said, “We are worried about the emerging trends and practices in the sector in recent times which has now called for increased vigilance on the part of all genuine practitioners and the government in view of the rate of reported cases of dubious acts by some real estate agents who are taking undue advantage of the market which has become one of the fastest growing in Nigeria and Lagos State in particular as a result of increasing population.

“Our government through LASRERA has defined minimum operational standards and guidelines for citizens to abide by, adding that the guidelines provide a comprehensive checklist for the citizens to correctly identify and have a competitive list of registered individuals/organizations to avoid doing business with unregistered Real Estate practitioners in the system.

Sanwo-Olu said the private sector must collaborate to prevent the proliferation of fraudulent activities in the real estate market.

“The emerging trends and practices in this sector in recent time call for increased vigilance on the part of all genuine practitioners and the government in view of the rate of reported cases of dubious acts by some real estate agents who are taking undue advantage of the market which has become one of the fastest growing in Nigeria and Lagos State in particular as a result of increasing population,” he said.

The Governor pleaded with residents and everyone interested in the real estate business to be cautious in any financial transaction they engage in by fact-checking the track records of the organisations they are dealing with to ascertain if the individual or organisation is registered with LASRERA and other relevant government Agencies in the sectors.

On her part, the Special Adviser to Lagos State Governor on Housing, Mrs Toke Benson-Awoyinka, who oversees the Lagos State Real Estate Regulatory Authority, LASRERA said that the Real Estate Sector has been plagued with risks and losses which have been critical issues for those in the Sector.

Benson-Awoyinka said that the quest for transparency in business transactions in the Real Estate Market necessitated the need for the involvement of the government in the regulation of the Real Estate Sector.

She said Lagos State Government was determined to ensure sanity was restored to the State’s Real Estate Environment with the review of the Agency’s law.

“Impersonation in the Real Estate Industry is becoming unethically high which is contributing to the increase in the fraudulent activities in Real Estate Market, hence the need for Government intervention.

“This development calls for appropriate regulation, implementation and enforcement of the Real Estate Laws in order to restore sanity into the sector and instil public confidence in the real estate profession and it explains why the Lagos State Real Estate Regulatory Authority – LASRERA is mandated to regulate and register those individuals/organisations who are involved in this Sector.

“One significant potential risk involving the Real Estate Market is identifying the Real Stakeholders of this Market, and in doing this, there must be Watchet to Monitor activities of operations towards the development of the Sector effectively.

“As an integral part of the Real Estate Environment, Government’s regulations must address the ethical standards of potential risk in terms of losses for the protection of the citizenry’s investments,” Benson-Awoyinka said.