By Chinenye Anuforo
West Africa real estate industry players gathered at the 8th Annual WAPI Summit in Lagos and explored opportunities to boost growth of the sector.
This is even as they reiterated the need to deploy technology into the sector to improve investment, liquidity and home ownership.
The industry players who spoke with journalists, at the 8th Annual WAPI Summit in Lagos, said Nigeria is far back when it comes to technology especially in the real estate industry.
According to the chief operating officer, BuyLetLive, Modupe Agbolahan said technology is the future, and as such, the real estate space cannot be left behind. “This is the main reason we have come up with a platform that will ease and simplify the process of selling and buying in the real estate market”.
She said, “We will have features on the BuyLetLive site such as Virtual Tour, that allows one to inspect properties without visiting the site .
She stated that the adoption of technology has been great in Nigeria as more people now see it as the way of life.
On her own part, the head, marketing and communications, Spleet, Tofunmi Alo said making properties in Nigeria accessible to everybody in the world is one sure way to boost the real estate industry.
Alo said Nigeria’s real estate industry has in recent time, embraced innovative ways to doing business in real estate. “For example, Spleet provides people a platform that connects landlord to tenant. We also have a product called Verify in the pipeline, that will enable tenants to rent a house now and pay later. In the next five years, we plan to expand our product and service to other countries like Kenya, Ghana,” she revealed.
For lead sponsor, Pennek Nigeria Limited, it hope to establish as a household name in the real estate industry in Nigeria and West Africa as a whole. “The international appeal and audience of the WAPI Summit is in line with our strategy and plans of expanding Pennek across the globe having recently opened in the USA and UK, and also to provide quality housing and developing underdeveloped communities as a part of our Nation-building ideology.”
Speaking on housing deficit, Legal Officer, Pennek, Micheal Obiaju, said there is a big future for Nigeria’s real estate, urging the government to allocate requisite resources to the housing sector.
According to him, Nigeria needs to produce one million units of housing per annum.
“Real estate is big. It provides wide range of opportunities and I’m also of the view that real estate in Nigeria is a goldmine. It’s the current gold mine after oil,” he said.
Executive Director, Stanbic IBTC Capital, Oyinda Akinyemi, said there was a need to get more REITs into the market. She opined that more sponsors who are doing great work in the real estate space together with the investors must be involved.
“I am aware that a lot of investors have got burnt over the last two years, but I think there have been a lot of improvements, a lot of progress, and there has been a lot of structures in that space in term of what the regulators have done and in term of making the REITs product to act as a crystal vehicle similar to what we have in other jurisdictions.
“And I think the processes of educating the investors, getting to know and understand are important. This can only come about by engaging the players in that space, understanding what the potential risks are and they can determine how they want to play. But I think bringing the players together like we have in the conference is extremely important,” Akinyemi said.