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Why rents increased by 30% in Lagos, border towns

Rents across Lagos (Mainland and Island) and Ogun State have increased by over 30% between December 2020 and April 2021.

Findings by Nairametrics revealed that while rent had increased by over 30% in some Lagos border towns like Sango-Ota, Arepo, and Magboro, property owners across Yaba, Magodo, Ikoyi, and Lekki axis also inflated their rents by about 33% within the same period.

For instance, rents for one-bedroom (self-contain) and two-bedroom apartments, which are the most sought after in Magboro (one of the Lagos border towns) have increased from an average of N120,000 and N160,000 to N200,000 and N260,000 respectively. This represents a 33.33% and 30% increase respectively.

Similarly, rents in some key areas in Lagos Mainland are not cheaper. In Magodo phase 2, property owners charged between N1 million and N1.2 million for a 2-bedroom apartment, but now, a potential tenant is required to pay between N1.3 million and N1.56 million as rent (depending on how old the house is), an increase of approximately 30%.

Though rents appear relatively cheaper in Surulere, especially around Aguda, they also increased within the period under review. While rent on two-bedroom apartments and three-bedroom in Aguda has gone up from N850,000 and N1 million to N1.2 million and N1.4 million respectively, around Ogunlana drive, two-bedroom apartments that were let out at N950,000 now cost about N1.2 million.

Meanwhile, rents around the Lekki axis have also gone northward, as new tenants are forced to pay more before occupying houses. A 4-bedroom semi-detached house without boys quarters in Lekki Phase 1 and Ajah, which used to cost N3.8 million and N2 million, has risen to N4.5 million and N2.5 million respectively.

In Sangotedo, rent on three-bedroom flats has also increased from N1.2 million as of December 2020 to N1.6 million.

Why the rise?

Industry experts, who spoke with Nairametrics in separate interviews, explained that there are several factors responsible for the development and agreed that some of the reasons are not fundamentally strong.

Paul Bamigbola, Chairman, Nigerian Institute of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), Lagos Chapter, told Nairametrics that a significant factor responsible for the hike is the rising cost of building materials.

According to him, property owners now spend more to build houses, as the cost of cement, iron rods, sanitary wares and tiles, among others, have all risen significantly.

For instance, the cost of steel, which was sold at N234,000 per tonne as of March 2020, had increased to N380,000 at the end of March 2021. This represents a 62% increase within the period under review.

Dangote Cement increased from N2,600 to N3,800 (though it is sold at N3,600 in some areas in Lagos), Lafarge Cement and BUA Cement increased from N2,400 and N2,250 to N3,600 and N3,250 respectively within the same period.

Bamigbola said, “The high cost of acquiring land, including the actual cost of building, also adds to the reasons property prices in Lagos are high.”

But when our analyst pointed out to Bamigbola that the hike also affected old houses, he said, “To also increase the rents, most of the owners of the old house renovate the houses a little before letting them out. They do that to increase the rent to about N400,000 if the owners of new houses charge N500,000.”

Another factor responsible for the hike, especially in Lagos, is the lack of formal housing. With over 3.8 million households in Lagos, up to 2.1 million households are without formal housing. This presents a supply gap of over 55%.

Chief Executive Officer, Richfield Limited, a real estate company, Samson Odegbami in a recent interview with Nairametrics said, “As typical in every market, excess demand drives up prices. This could make landlords, who frequently get requests for their available spaces, increase the prices and let out or sell the property to the highest bidder.

Estate Intel, in its report, stated that the lack of transparency between asking and achievable prices was also another factor.

It added that the multiple agents and developers involved in marketing properties typically list these properties for significantly higher amounts than what they are willing to accept.

It stated, “We expect developers or agents to aim to achieve the highest possible price, with a window for negotiation, leaving a wider than usual spread between asking and achievable prices.

A large spread between asking and achievable rent makes average market rent seem artificially high and encourages other developers to hold fast on those artificially listed prices, keeping average rents or sale prices high.”

Bottomline

Based on the experts’ views, the rent prices could be very misleading, especially because most of the properties on the listed platforms in Nigeria are priced well above what is achievable.

Credit: Nairametrics

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