Thursday, August 14, 2014


With all the panic about Enola sweeping the country and the world, everyone seems to be on red alert about touching other people or even just breathing in the same air as them or God forbid, them sneezing or coughing near you. In all its seriousness, there are still causes for amazement when the driver turns up late, frantically chewing kola nut because he claims he was bathing in salt water as prevention against Ebola, or the Security men at the gate of an estate wearing winter wool gloves to hand you the visitors book and pen. I had to visit a vacant newly completed block of flats in Lekki this week and on getting there, I found the gate open and no gateman around, the gateman two doors away came rushing up to me and whispered that the gateman was inside the building and had been sick for a few days and no one was going near him for fear that it may be Ebola, you should have seen me practice Michael Jacksons fast Moonwalk and hot foot it to my car, whipping out my bacterial wipes to clean my hands, even though I had touched nothing. This panic is all a bit out of control, but we should be safe rather than sorry. I have actually cut back on my visits especially where it is a busy work sites. The truth is that the fear of Ebola, is the beginning of wisdom to many Nigerians. As I write this article, the virus has claimed its third victim, with many more quarantined. Those practicing in the Real Estate market, need to be very careful about interactions and staff safety

It was in the papers this week that the Nigerian Mortgage Refinancing Company(NMRC) which is a private sector company is being set up to encourage financial institutions to increase their mortgage lending by providing them with long term funds and assist in reducing mortgage rates. It has set 20 percent as the minimum equity contribution banks must consider when a loan application is made, if an applicant is to be considered for a home loan, of course earnings and assets will contribute to the acceptance, and the lease must be at least 20 years to work. It will take at least six months for loans to be granted.

I sincerely hope this will all become clearer as they start, as prospective home buyers are in need of financial help to secure their own homes.


There are so many new areas of development coming up in Lagos mostly on the outskirts of Lekki, Magodo Isheri Sango, Akowonjo, Epe and the list goes on. Traditional built up areas like Ikoyi, Victoria Island, Ikeja, Surulere and Yaba are being transformed daily and becoming unaffordable. Take a drive through some streets in Ikoyi or VI and they are impassable with potholes and stagnant lakes of water everywhere. The price of land in some of these areas is now worth more than the properties that stand on the land that is why developers are putting up multi story high rises with prices being quoted in dollars. Of course these areas and these properties are out of the reach of most. In order to maximise ones investment and possible future property rises, it is best to consider areas that have access to good existing infrastructure like roads, schools, power and transport, I say “existing infrastructure” because in many cases people have bought in areas where infrastructure was promised and years later nothing has been delivered, leaving the residents signing petitions and making complaints to government regulatory agencies. It is important to check out the area before buying there. Areas like Apapa which it is rumoured that property prices are depreciating due to the infrastructural decay, pollution and heavy traffic is a fantastic area to invest in if you can afford something there. The reason for this is that it is centrally located has already been tried and tested and has good infrastructure. It may be going through a period of depression now but it will certainly improve in years to come. Abijo, Ibeju Lekki and the Lekki Free trade Zone are also areas to consider as urbanisation on this axis is rapid; it is acquiring the required infrastructure and is still relatively affordable. All the mentioned areas are on solid land and not sand filled or reclaimed. A lot of new estates being built near lagoons and beaches are on sand filled land and care needs to be taken that the developers have carried out the necessary filling of the land and waterproofing of the buildings.

 Areas that need an injection of good quality residential apartments, is Surulere,Akoka, Yaba, Ilupeju, Maryland and Ikeja. At the moment a place like Surulere and its surrounding areas like Itire, Masha etc looks like they are in a confused state of commercialisation. All available single dwelling units on major streets are being converted into banks, eateries, malls, bars etc. It will require someone with vision and a deep pocket to develop some luxury dwellings for the residents give the community back the finesse that it once held, as the rapid overdevelopment of these areas has put severe pressure on its infrastructure and aesthetics with electric cables crisscrossing the roads and buildings haphazardly. Any developer wanting to gentrify these areas will have to buy up and probably demolish what is already there in order to start properly from the foundation up.

New developers are now building town houses, terraces, flats, high rises etc. The days of building one unit on one plot is over and done with. The demands of building multi tenanted units are that residents expect some considerations from the developer, like parking spaces, airconditioner plumbing, fitted kitchens, security gates and external cleaning, generators big enough to supply the whole development instead of individual sets which more than likely will constitute a nuisance to other residents through noise and carbon monoxide pollution.

 If one takes time to look, you will find affordable land and properties that are set to rise in price in the near future


I have written about this many times in the past five years but power supply is unfortunately getting worse. Getting access to reasonable supply of electricity by PHCN is getting less and less by the day despite repeated empty government promises and DISCO take over’s. Some areas have not had more than one hours supply in total in the last two weeks. People are spending hundreds of thousands to fuel their generators, just to have some reasonable quality of life, yet are still being hit with astronomically over inflated PHCN bills that do not reflect their supply and meter readings that they have fought so hard over the years to get installed and now the meters are installed, the readings are being ignored?

The country has been promised increased megawatts of power every other day for the last ten years or more. The latest being 10,000mw by the end of July 2014. In the last few years these promises were made by the Power Ministers and went out to privatisation, yet it seems that with each passing day and power report we receive, it is to say that one power station has closed down or a leak was detected in one or another plant. We are urged to be patient, yet it seems nothing is being done apart from blame being thrown about. Apart from a couple of years ago when a former Minister of Power as in charge and we could obviously see some improvements, we are yet to see any benefits of the current privatisation initiative. The current power output stands at about 2,500mw; five years ago it was 3,200mw.

We must however continue to rely on our trusted generators to power our homes and businesses and hope that one fine day we will see stable supply.  Estates must now provide power as part of its services in order to get buyers and renters. Individual home owners must now factor in two or more generators in their budget as well as servicing, fuelling and replacement of the generators. Interestingly, it is reported that Nigeria is the largest importer and user of generator sets in the world. It appears that we may hold this important title for many more years to come.