Ademola Ifagbayi is a known name and reputable player in the ever-booming real estate industry in Nigeria. He is the President and CEO of Rich-Hoods Homes and Properties Limited, a new company doing a lot in the real estate business within 1 year of its establishment. Through Rich-hoods Homes and Properties, Ifagbayi has succeeded in providing affordable lands and properties for low- and middle-income earners in society. Recently, City People had him give an assessment of the real estate business in Nigeria. During his remarks, he took time to give 3 major reasons why the industry keeps booming by the day. Below are the excerpts:
What’s your assessment of real estate business in Nigeria?
Real estate business in Nigeria is experiencing a serious boom right now. Real Estate companies are really doing a lot in redesigning new towns and making them comfortable environments for people to live. You know, before in those days, all things were left for individuals, the Omo oniles and the rest. They will just be building without any plan. But now, even before we start selling, we already have our plan in terms of the layout, how the estate would look like from the gatehouse to the generator house, we already have them in plan. When you see most of the estates we have, they are well structured, the buildings align, the roads are well paved, the drainages too. So, I would say the real estate industry in Nigeria has not actually started because what’s going to make it more interesting is that more people are beginning to see what real estate is doing. At one time, there was a promise for those people that went into the business about 10-15 years ago. Then there was nothing on the ground for them but now those of us on ground are now leveraging on the success and achievement of those people. The more people you have in the industry today, people can actually see and have an idea of what they’re going to get. I could remember those days when we were in the university. If you’re coming from Lagos, Ibadan, you know there are no cities in Mowe, no cities in the Ofada area, they are mostly isolated areas. The Redeemed Church just stood there alone as a church inside a bush, people even said what kind of church is this they didn’t even see land among the people but today it has become a major city.
What do you think are the major factors responsible for the boom experienced in the real estate business in Nigeria?
There are three major things that are driving real estate business in Nigeria and that will continue to drive it for a very long time. The number one thing as far as real estate is concerned is that real estate is a business culturally acceptable to people in the sense that it is part of our culture. No matter who you are as a man or a woman, no matter the level of success you achieve whether you rent a mansion in Banana Island, you have Lexus and the likes if you don’t have a property of your own, nobody would respect you so everybody in Nigeria, even if your father built houses you want to build your own. You want your children to say this is my own father’s house, it is acceptable to people. Secondly, another thing is that it is a product and the only investment that people put money into that is able to manage inflation is real estate. In those days I think about 10-15 years ago when it was the turn to buy shares, you know how much we bought GTB, First Bank, some of us are keeping the paper then with the fear that we cannot even sell it. But you see real estate, when we had our last son about 12,13 years ago when the boom was on then, my wife runs a supermarket by the Time she delivers you know she has to be in the house and you know the challenge of supermarket business is that you must sell everything in the shop because if you don’t sell them before she comes back 3-6 months, some of them will expire. So she has to give the goods to people to sell keeping her money. I collected almost 500 thousand from her and invented in some specific shares then with the hope that it will appreciate. Let me tell you that we cannot sell those shares now. If I had carried that 500 thousand naira to go to that Arepo side and I think they’re selling around 150 thousand at that time, by this time those lands can’t be less than 10 million now. Real estate is the secret of wealth creation. Look at all the obas, all the kings, even the wealth of the British monarchy is hidden in real estate. You can go online and verify all these, how much do you think is going to be the value of all those palaces now, they run in several millions of pounds now. These are assets that are transgenerational. If you buy a car, say Lexus 2022 model, I think it’s going for about 77 million now if I’m not mistaken, in 10 years’ time they won’t call it a brand-new Lexus. when you take the same 100 million to go and invest in where people are thinking is bush now because one of the principles of real estate is that you must be able to see a city in a bush. The focus is to create a new city on its own that’s going to have all the facilities, if you travel abroad most especially in America if they want to expand they can go to a land that has 5000 acres, they will redesign and put their facilities that make life comfortable even before they start building and because of the exposure and technology, that’s the idea that investors, entrepreneur are now bringing to the Nigerian market so that’s why I said that the next 10, 20, 50 years, because majorly where do you want to live? Just imagine that there’s no Mowe and Ibafo. Where would people living go?.