Gabriel Enenche —
Real estate experts in West Africa have reiterated the need for the use of technology in the sector to improve investment, liquidity and homeownership. They revealed this at the 8th Annual WAPI Summit in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial center, exploring opportunities to boost growth of the industry.
The Chief Operating Officer, BuyLetLive, Modupe Agbolahan said the real estate sector must embrace technology which he said is the future, and as such, the sector cannot be left behind.
“This is the main reason we have come up with a platform that will ease and simplify the process of selling and buying in the real estate market, she said.
“We will have features on the BuyLetLive site such as Virtual Tour, that allows one to inspect properties without visiting the site, she added.
She stated that the adoption of technology has been great in Nigeria as more people now see it as the way of life.
The Head of Marketing and Communications, Spleet, Tofunmi Alo said producing properties in Nigeria and making it accessible to the world is a way of boosting the real estate industry. She also said Nigeria’s real estate industry has in recent time, embraced innovative ways to doing business in real estate.
“For example, Spleet provides people a platform that connects landlord to tenant, she stated.
“We also have a product called Verify in the pipeline, that will enable tenants to rent a house now and pay later. In the next five years, we plan to expand our product and service to other countries like Kenya, Ghana”.
Lead sponsor of the Summit, Pennek Nigeria Limited said it hope to establish a household name in the real estate industry in Nigeria and West Africa.
“The international appeal and audience of the WAPI Summit is in line with our strategy and plans of expanding Pennek across the globe, having recently opened in the USA and UK.
Also, we aim to provide quality housing and developing underdeveloped communities as a part of our Nation-building ideology”.
Its Legal Officer, Micheal Obiaju, said there is a big future for Nigeria’s real estate, urging the government to allocate requisite resources to the housing sector. According to him, Nigeria needs to produce one million units of housing per annum.
“Real estate is big. It provides wide range of opportunities and I’m also of the view that real estate in Nigeria is a goldmine. It’s the current gold mine after oil”, he said.
Executive Director, Stanbic IBTC Capital, Oyinda Akinyemi, said there is a need to get more REITs into the market, further revealing that more sponsors who are doing great work in the real estate space together with the investors must be involved.
“I am aware that a lot of investors have got burnt over the last two years, but I think there have been a lot of improvements, a lot of progress, and there has been a lot of structures in that space in terms of what the regulators have done and in terms of making the REITs product to act as a crystal vehicle similar to what we have in other jurisdictions, she said.
“And I think the processes of educating the investors, getting to know and understand are important.
“This can only come about by engaging the players in that space, understanding what the potential risks are and they can determine how they want to play.
“But, I think bringing the players together like we have in the conference is extremely important”, Akinyemi said.