What Can Real Estate Do in a Coronavirus Era 2020?

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  • Posted by Sebastine Nnaji
an image with recession written

Nigeria has a long way to go. While battling Coronavirus, oil rates sinking below unimagined rates, we are still yet to find a way out of the economic downturn. Real estate has been under looked, thus it does not have enough impact on our economy.

Many global economies will struggle to meet up with past images, only but a few will be able to surpass their past-selves. With countries like New Zealand, Taiwan, and Iceland with almost no covid 19 cases, reopening the economy that should give them a good time to measure their recovery.

Stakeholders in the housing construction sector say there is hope and not much to worry about the Nigerian economy if the country mass-produces and commoditizes housing.

In countries like the USA, real estate holds a massive sway in its economy. It has even lead to a recession back in 2003.

Some stakeholders, who spoke at an online conference facilitated by FESADEB Communications Ltd, propositioning their argument that agriculture alone, is incapable of pulling Nigeria out of its current state, not as it is. There is more than enough room for growth. Which is why stakeholders are recommending the housing construction sector, which has the potential to create mass employment besides agriculture, and, in the process, breed wealth post-Covid 19.

They also highlighted the need to reconstruct out-of-date housing policies in the country to reflect new realities.

“We estimate that for every unit of housing that is made, a minimum of four to six jobs is created,” explained Femi Adewole, CEO, Family Homes Funds Limited (FHF).

Adewole argued that “if we have a project that will deliver 300,000 homes in Nigeria and it is spread across all the 36 states that will, over a five-year period, bring 10 million people into employment. This is possible and it is time for thinking in that direction.”

COVID-19 has helped to emphasize the need for more houses to be built, not only to create jobs but also to shelter the people.

Most investors, constructions, and stakeholders targeted only the middle and upper working class. The minority has been left out for a long time. A vast majority of the population in Lagos slums slept outside for a month during the lockdown. This is the outcome of the deficits in housing policies and lack of access to decent housing.

A certain Mr. Hakeem Ogunniran, the CEO, Eximia Realty, insisted that housing should be commoditized and a legal framework created to facilitate buying and selling of houses at ease. “The industry must, of necessity, move away from the era of building houses to the era of manufacturing them,” he said.

As mentioned in a previous post, many Nigerians are unaware of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT). Poor public awareness has made it that not enough capital has pooled together to raise the stakes in producing good housing and generate wealth.  Private capital can tap into the housing sector investment opportunities to aid economic growth.

In Nigeria, the scarcity of housing is estimated at 20 million units that require a traditional estimate of $56 billion to resolve. You can only imagine that a good chunk of that number of the deficit Lagos has.

Nigeria has not been able to meet the expectations in terms of access to decent housing by the Nigerian people even before COVID-19.

The rate of good and affordable houses being provided is lower than the rate of expansion. We would need to proportionate in the provision of housing, else eradication of slums will continue to be on the negative even after the pandemic.

Nigeria needs a single house, a Housing Commission of operation to project positive roles and policies in the new world of Covid-19. It is time to stop making an excuse. We should excuse the excuse now that we are at war with an invisible enemy.

So can real estate aid in the economy’s revival? Resounding Yes!

Real Estate is a solution to employ post covid-19.

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