The Managing Director of Previs, a special purpose vehicle by James Cubitt Developments, Mr. Peter Coker, has said that the country’s real estate market is highly fragmented, and gets worse from the premium to the mid-market and low income housing cadre.
Coker, who spoke at the unveiling of Previs, a company designed to provide properties to professionals and mid-sized companies, said the demand for home ownership in the country far outweighed supply, and this had created room for quackery.
He said, “With the national housing deficit currently pegged at 17,000,000, it is little wonder that developers are springing up everywhere with all sorts of schemes. Given that there is no real barrier to setting up a development company and no agreed standard for what it takes to be a developer in Nigeria, the market is currently highly fragmented, and gets worse as you go from the premium to the mid-market and to low income housing.
“With such a high deficit and no proper guideline for developers, the government is constantly playing catch-up and is not sufficiently staffed to enforce building approvals and standards. So, many people have lost money and even lives as they have been subjected to various schemes from unseasoned and unprofessional developers.”
He however stated that in recent times, reputable construction and development companies had begun to take an interest in the middle-income housing market, and were helping to set standards for the delivery of housing to this segment.
He added, “The number one consideration when acquiring real estate is not how cheap it is but its potential as a store of value. If you build a cheap house that collapses within a year or two, you lose value; if the house is no longer tenant-able within five years, you lose both income and value. Unfortunately, this is what we have been witnessing in the mid-market.
“But being a member of James Cubitt companies in Nigeria, Previs enjoys a heritage of 60 years in the Nigerian real estate market and brings that experience to bear on the home delivery value chain.
“The company aims to set new standards of housing delivery, from design to development, fit outs and facility management. Our developments will be offered on flexible payment plans that will disrupt current models in the market.”