Buhari legacy

Realtors optimistic, foresee growth under Tinubu’s presidency

Operators in Nigeria’s real estate sector are optimistic that the expected new administration in the country to be headed by Bola Tinubu will create the right environment and policies to drive growth in the sector.

The operators note that as a business-minded person that is well disposed to the private sector, Tinubu will come up with policies that will encourage the business community to invest in the economy.

“There is optimism; the present anger and frustration arising from the outcome of the presidential election will go away with time and there will be peace. You can see that the international community has accepted him and that means they will be willing to do business here,” Odunayo Ojo, CEO, UPDC, said in an interview with BusinessDay.

Ojo, who believes that the expected peace would change the mood of the business community and make businesses thrive, added, “real estate always thrives where and when businesses thrive; the sector will grow as a result and we will start seeing this from the second half of this year.”

He hoped that economic activities would also increase; leading to the creation of better- paying jobs that would enable the workers to take mortgage and buy homes. “Housing does not exist in a vacuum; there must be a critical mass of buyers in good paying jobs for it to thrive and we only need a good economic policy to drive all that,” Ojo said.

Chudi Ubosi, principal partner at Ubosi Eleh + Co, told BusinessDay that going by his antecedent, Tinubu comes off as a private sector person who believes that the private sector drives the economy.

Ubosi expects a major liberalisation in land title issuance which, he said, would enable buyers to use their property as collateral to get loans from banks. “We expect to see improved focus on property dealings; a policy to liberalise homeownership; opening up of new towns and cities; there will be more investment and enabling environment in terms of infrastructure provision,” he said.

Activities in the construction industry have been low in the last six to 12 months as a result of rising cost of materials and high exchange rate. Igbuan Okaisabor, CEO, Construction Kaiser Limited, also hopes that Tinubu would open up activities in the private sector.

“With guidance from people like Babatunde Fashola who has done it over the years, Tinubu would be able to open up activities in the industry. We need a stable exchange rate to plan with; we also need encouragement as local operators. Government should encourage partnerships between local and foreign firms for knowledge transfer and also to build competence,” Okaisabor said.

Continuing, he said, “devaluation and inflation have ruined the construction industry. We want the new government to address these problems; provide infrastructure and by so doing create more jobs for young Nigerians who are idle.”

According to him, the construction industry is still dominated by foreign operators, adding that they in the industry would want the Tinubu presidency to allow local content in the industry by giving contracts to local industry operators.

As part of his manifestoes, Tinubu promised to merge agencies in the housing sector to create two strong ones for efficient management of the sector. But Kehinde Ogundimu, CEO, Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC), said in an interview that the problem of the sector was not the weak agencies.

“We have about four of these agencies which are not too many. In the US, they have about five.The problem is about making the four we have stronger. If you merge them and create only two, you will be making the too strong and dominant. They will become a system risk.

“What the new government can do with the housing agencies is to make them stronger and also capitalise them adequately,” he said.

He added that, “all we want the incoming government to do for us is to reduce the time and cost of perfecting titles. Cost of fund, that is exchange rate, is also an issue. If they address these two for us, we will be done,” he said.