Despite the harsh economic climate sweeping across the nation due to the fall in oil prices, devaluation of the naira, capital flight, inconsistency in government policies and unemployment, the Managing Director of Propertygate Development & Investment Plc, Mr. Adetokunbo Ajayi has predicted that 2016 will be a prosperous year for the real estate sub-sector of the economy.
Ajayi who made the prediction at an interactive session with newsmen, premised his optimism on the federal government’s plans to expend huge sum of money on infrastructure which is expected to lead to aggressive intervention in housing supply and the creation of enabling policies to stimulate and deepen private sector participation in housing delivery.
“We also hope to see more activities from the Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Corporation, NMRC in the year, which will help provide liquidity to the mortgage market. While the details of government plans are being expected, we hope the government’s zeal for housing will not push it into the private domain of running enterprise, which it is not well equipped for,” he said.
Continuing, the Propertygate boss said: “While we are not unmindful that the nation ended 2015 on a negative economic note just as events in the few days of 2016 are already suggesting there are tougher battles to fight, we believe opportunities for success in 2016 in our sub sector still exist. At Propertygate, we recognise that the need for real estate products and services across board remain significant. We are however careful not to confuse need with demand. This is obviously not the time of harvest without work. We are leveraging on our deep knowledge, expertise and experience to navigate the times we are in. We are giving utmost attention and regards to the dynamics and fluidity of the macro-economic environment and our real estate markets. Smart real estate ideas; innovation in designs, local content for production, and construction approach; creative funding; and disciplined focus are part of our intended plans for success in 2016. We think the capacity to recognise opportunities in the various markets in our sub-sector and ability to carefully marshal the needed investment to optimise them will be critical to success stories in the year. These we intend to do; thus delivering market inspired products to our target market”.
The Propertygate boss said the firm “strongly believes in effective and efficient use of resources and thinks the need for prudent investment cannot be greater than at this trying time”. “We will therefore be making our real estate advisory services available to more customers to enable them optimize their investment. In effect, we are saying that development idea needs to be properly analysed before you ever put down your money, whether as an investor, financier, user or operator,” he said. According to him, doing this will not only produce optimal return to investors, but in addition, improve the general economic well being of the immediate environment and the nation ultimately. He added that beyond the advisory services, “We can provide the necessary partnership under a joint venture arrangement to deliver even greater value. “We forecast the year will witness expansion in our advisory service areas of development conception, design and build, development appraisal, property rehabilitation and development monitoring among others”, Ajayi noted.
Propertygate boss also noted that the recent action and plans of Lagos state government in the area of construction of inner roads across the state, securing $200million World Bank loan for infrastructure, and efforts at enforcement of environmental laws and regulations are positive steps for the real estate sub-sector.
“In our view, one of the major steps the state is urgently expected to take to boost the sub-sector is ensuring maximum enforcement of built and environmental regulations.
There are still sizeable development parcels and properties within the urban centres and their fringe, which have no appeal, as a result of blight from gross built and environmental lawlessness.
“It is cheaper for the state to provide inventive for development of these wasting assets by immediately sanitizing the environment, as against opening new development frontiers requiring huge infrastructure outlay. This will lead to massive economic, social, health, safety and environmental benefits for the state.
“The state is advised to come up with plans containing detailed deliberate and sustainable action pathways to decisively address the lingering menace. This becomes imperative in view of the state’s ambition to make Lagos a tourist destination. Not many people will be excited to come to cities where liveability is tough”, Ajayi said.
In his submission, he said while 2016 will be a tough year going by current events and forecast, the government is expected at all levels to embark on concerted efforts to reflate the economy; promote social order; and restore confidence by giving heightened share of voice to effort to uplift the country, as against the almost single narrative of gloom that is currently being aired.
He noted that the governments must demonstrate seriousness, commitment, sincerity and courage in tackling the current problems, insisting that they must be forthright in letting the people know that all the problems can not be solved in the short run, while promptly reporting gains made in addressing them to consolidate hope.