Adelaja Adeoye is the chief executive officer of Fendini Homes, developer of Rayfield Gardens City Estate in Ibadan. In this interview with REMI FEYISIPO, he spoke on how to reduce the housing deficit in the country, challenges facing the real estate, how the economic downturn is affecting the industry as well as his company’s contribution to the economic development and transformation of cities in Nigeria. Excerpts:
As a critical player in the real estate industry, how can the huge housing gap in the country be bridged?
The effective way to close the housing deficit is for the government at all levels to partner with private companies like Fendini Homes by a way of Public Private Partnership (PPP) in provision of affordable housing for all. The Federal or State Government should cut out lands in various city centres, and give them to the private developers to develop them based on investment arrangements.
This is because the income of the government is stressed already, and development of housing is capital-intensive. If private companies on one hand develop mass housing, the government can further assist with off taking, while mortgage banks can then work out mortgage plans for the intending buyers, that way, the transaction will be easier. Meaning that to also reduce the financial burdens on the developer, the Government, Mortgage Bank and other financial institutions can serve as off-takers. In this case, we have two categories of people who will want to buy, the government workers and those in the private sectors who desire to own an affordable home.
What specific strategies do you think can reduce the about 20 million housing deficit?
From experience, Nigerians want to own decent homes to live with their families, but let’s consider some of the factors inhibiting them, such as minimum wage, earnings, inflation, state of the economy, etc. But, for those who are still in active service within government organisations and those in private sectors who have access to mortgage, can key into housing project when government deliberately rolls out such plans. The way to achieve this is for governments and private sectors to partner to build at least one million homes in every State of the federation for the next 10-20 years, with this the housing deficit will quickly be reduced, because the population never stop growing also.
What do you consider major challenges of real estate in Nigeria?
The major challenge being faced by real estate in Nigeria is land and cost of building materials. Disputes arising from the ownership and transfer of land is one key area the government must work on. The land use act gives and vested the ownership of land on State Governors, but that doesn’t stop some indigenous people from still laying claims to land acquired by the government. In some cases, the slow way of working out compensation to the affected persons is also an issue affecting development. And the other part is the high cost of building materials, which is increasingly making the final sale cost of houses very expensive, making it much difficult for people to acquire houses.
Due to the current security challenges and economic downturn in Nigeria, many foreign investors are presumed scared from investing in real estate. As a stakeholder in the sector, what should be done to engender investor confidence?
Despite the slow pace of economy, the fact remains that Nigeria remains an investment destination of choice for foreigners in real estate, because we have the land, the labour force, and the market.
They will never stop coming because the market is here, but we only need to be ingenious and creative about doing business pending when the economy will pick up again. Recently, study have shown that Lagos, Ibadan, and Abuja are the top leading real estate destinations for investors, who want to do real business.
As a result of the challenges for everybody, individuals and institutions alike, businesses have had their projections reset and, in some cases, dropped entirely. How is Fendini Homes coping and projections for the future?
The fact remains that people are learning to cope with the economic realities, which we are hoping for improvement soon. Real estate can never shut down, because shelter is one of the basic needs of mankind. Everyone wants to own an abode over their heads, the financial capacity is what then determines the kind of home they can live in, be it affordable or luxurious homes. What is important is for people to have a decent place to live. So, we are hopeful that things will get better when government begins to put the right policies and programmes into action.
Your company is in partnership with Oyo State to develop 400 housing units at Christopher Adebayo Alao Akala GRA Ibadan; can you expatiate on the venture?
Yes, our company, Fendini, is in a strategic relationship and partnership with Oyo State Government to develop about 400 units of smart homes, and the name of our Estate is Rayfield Gardens City Estate situated at Christopher Adebayo Alao Akala GRA Wofun, Akobo Extension by Iwo Road Ibadan.
We have commenced the project and have completed about 60% of road and drainage Infrastructures, with massive construction work ongoing with speed of light. We are not leaving any stone unturned because the government wants quality Infrastructures, so, all our roads are paved while some are concrete roads, meaning that in the next 10-20 years after completion, all roads will be rock solid without any potholes. We are powering all our street lights in the Estate with 100% Solar (Renewable Energy) to make it sustainable, while each of the houses will have at least 10KVA of solar installation for us to achieve a very noiseless Estate. If you come to the Estate today, you will see street lights already installed and working. We are pushing hard to provide green environment, and also to provide all residents with clean and treated water that will be piped to ever homes in the Estate. We have smart 3 bedroom semi and detached bungalows, same as duplexes and terraces in 3, 4 and 5 Bedrooms anchored on smart technology.
We pride our estate as the next big thing in Ibadan, because we are not compromising our design, esthetics and construction quality. If we can have Banana Island and VGC in Lagos, we also have Rayfield Gardens City in Ibadan. Rayfield is aimed at a tier 1 or Class A Estate.
When you come to the Estate, you will appreciate the design, and the kind of houses you’ll see there. The Estate has commercial land for sale in the fronter part of the Estate planned to be used for shopping mall, Hotel, Hospital, Amusement Park, Event Center, Office Building, Gymhouse and Schools. All of these are open to investors who want to own any of them.
What stage is the project, delivery date and sales pattern?
We have gone so far with infrastructures, and have started rolling out the buildings. We are happy that subscribers are excited with all our offers, because all of our designs are modern and contemporary buildings well arranged in different sections. For instance, we have sections housing Bungalows, Duplexes and Terraces. We also have two phases with their own gatehouses for functionality.
We kicked off the project effectively June last year, and by 2025 we should be rounding up. The sales is open to the general public, and they can simply contact us via our official phone lines, website or simply search Rayfield Gardens City Estate Christopher Adebayo Alao Akala GRA Wofun Akobo Extension Ibadan on Google, it will pop up our information.
Apart from the partnership with Oyo government, does the company have any other one within the South West or within the country to build housing estate?
Yes, we have different areas for effective development soon, in Oyo State and other States.