The issue of infrastructure in developing estates across the nation is a lingering one between developers and their customers; they both seem to have different understanding to the notion as they both see it from different ends. This article however delves into the importance of having infrastructure in place in developing estates, its resultant benefit for occupants and land owners in the estate, as well as the impact it has on the environment.
As we look at the issue of Infrastructure in developing estates, let’s quickly make a mental note that in a bid to solve the housing problem in Nigeria, government and real estate practitioners are building housing units and estates that are termed ‘mass housing’ and referred to as affordable.
Whether they are truly for the masses, the affordablity and real essence of these housing units has often times been questioned since these housing units are very expensive and way above the pay grade of the common man. However, that is not to say there are no real estate developers who truly help the common man achieve his dream of being a home owner.
An example is Realty Point Limited who has had considerable success over the years in helping people with middle to low income become landlords. The need to curb the housing deficit issue and make more people property owners has given rise to a lot of developing estates in the country.
Developing estates in various communities and areas are good ways of controlling most of the major issues experienced in developed cities or towns such as overpopulation, traffic congestion, lack of adequate space etc. The creation of new communities and estates is therefore a welcome idea since it would depopulate and reduce traffic congestion characteristic of the cities, ease the strain on basic amenities, and create other ripple effects.
Unfortunately, response to these developing estates is poor. People are not eager to live, work or own businesses in these communities because of one major issue – lack of infrastructure – thus defeating the purpose for which these communities were created in the first place.
Infrastructure, which is the basic physical and organizational structure needed for the operation of a society or the services and facilities required for an economy to function, is a major determinant of real estate investment. When technical structures such as good roads, electrical grids, drainages, sewers, bridges, telecommunication, water supply etc are not readily available in a community or estate, people are not quick to invest in properties in such areas thus affecting returns on investment for the estate developer.
Unfortunately, investment returns is not the only thing affected, the economy also suffers. This is because infrastructure facilitates the production and distribution of goods and services necessary for the sustenance and enhancement of life. When good and adequate infrastructure is not in place, living conditions are harsh, thus reducing people’s level of productivity, businesses can’t thrive or function optimally and in turn, such areas can’t grow or develop. This puts a strain on the infrastructure and amenities of developed areas due to overpopulation and in effect, you have a country that is not robust all round because only few cities are developed.
According to a survey conducted January 2014 by the Urban Land Institute, which reflects the opinions of 241 public sector officials and 202 senior-level real estate executives (developers, investors, lenders, and advisers) based in large and medium-sized cities across the globe with concentration in the United States, Europe, and the Asia Pacific region, the quality of infrastructure systems—including transportation, utilities, and telecommunications—is the most important factor influencing real estate investment and development decisions in cities around the world.
This buttresses the fact that infrastructure is important and necessary for developing areas, and in a country like Nigeria where the provision of basic infrastructure is still an issue even in metropolitan areas, the government obviously has a lot of catching up to do. If the housing deficit is to be curbed and the real estate sector maximized, the government must take infrastructural development in budding estates seriously to encourage residential and commercial living in these areas while decongesting the populous metropolitans.