UAC Property Development Company (UPDC) Plc, the property development subsidiary of UAC Nigeria, has canvassed reform agenda for the housing sector in Nigeria, stressing that the sector is in dire need of reform.
Hakeem Oguniran, the managing director of the company who stated this during a courtesy visit to the company by the management of Business Day Media Limited, publishers of BusinessDay Newspapers, explained that the reform had become critical in view of the challenges in housing delivery.
Oguniran, who assured BusinessDay management that his company is open to partnership, noted that even in their attempt to consolidate their leadership position in the property market, it was still difficult to deliver affordable housing, pointing out that the environment was not enabling for that kind of housing.
“If I have to buy land from the open market and pay so much to obtain building approval, provide both primary and secondary infrastructure, it will be difficult for me to deliver housing at affordable price”, he said.
According to him, infrastructure cost constitutes about 10-15 percent of delivering housing in Nigeria, emphasising that government should show commitment to housing by creating special funds and providing free land for the sector.
He craved partnership with BusinessDay in the area of real estate through conferencing to push for the reform in the housing sector.
“There is every need for this reform; we have had a meeting with the Lagos State government on this issue because whatever you do as a private sector operator, you still need government policy to make it work; we will set up a team after our Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) to push for this reform and this is an area I think we can work with you (Business Day)”, he said.
Oguniran remarked that the UPDC REIT, currently in the market, is beneficial to them as a company and the people because, according to him, it is meant to deepen the real estate market.
He noted, however, that it has been quite challenging because of the legal framework.
He said that the company has given out five of its houses which are fully tenanted for the REIT operations, explaining that subscribers to the REIT will get their share of rents from these houses according to their contributions.
The managing director disclosed that as part of their marketing strategies, they are now targeting the middle class and also going to retail mall development.
He revealed that they have introduced two products known as Classic Apartments and Comfort Homes, both targeted at the mid-income segment of the housing market.
“As a company, we have introduced Classic Apartments and Comfort Homes for the middle class and we are also going into retail with the plan to develop Festival Mall”, he said.