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Nigeria’s security challenges impeding growth in real estate sector – Adebayo-Adedayo

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The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Rock Realty Limited, Ibukun Adebayo-Adedayo has not only play a big role in the growth of Nigeria’s real estate sector, but is also passionate in building generations of successful women in the industry.

Adebayo-Adebayo


The successful businesswoman, who is also the brains behind Today’s Bukka, in this interview speaks on her mission to set a new pace in the sector.

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You are on a mission to give middle-income real estate a facelift and ensure middle-income earners own homes early enough in life. What informed this decision?
My passion for middle-income ownership started when I was an employee. I was earning significantly well, had a good official car, could go on summer holidays with my kids, lived well, ate well and so on, but I could not put together bulk monies to own my own house because all the real estate adverts I saw required that I deposited a significant amount of funds upfront; which I did not have. The payment requirements were out of sync with my income pattern. So as much as I desired to own a home, homeownership became a mirage. I didn’t get my first home until I started working for myself and could put up bulk funds in business transactions. Fast-forward to the commencement of my real estate company, we decided to focus on middle-income real estate and our passion is to consistently help middle-income earners achieve homeownership, using strategies that are in tandem with the income/earnings pattern.

Asides from the fact that the real estate industry has become lucrative, it seems to be more saturated, so how have you been able to be distinctive with your brand?
First, the real estate industry in Nigeria is not saturated. The singular reason is this, if you put the number of houses built against the number of homes that should be built per annum, to cover the over 20 million housing deficit in the country, you will find out that we are not even scratching the surface of recovery numbers. However, there needs to be a redistribution of clientele focus. We need more developers moving into the lower-middle-income housing and affordable housing spaces; which are where the large “housing deficit” numbers lie.

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Now, we have been able to distinguish ourselves by providing home-purchase solutions that are tailored towards affordability for the average middle-income earner. This business strategy stands us out in a blue ocean and we have our target market; which requires this bespoke service. These are the average upwardly mobile professionals–mostly from generations Y and Z.

You have not only become a successful realtor but a vision breeder, especially for women in this industry. How do you intend to help women achieve more in the Nigerian real estate sector?
I am currently working with my team for the official launch of WIRE Africa (Women in Real Estate, Africa) in the 4th quarter of 2021. The main motivation for WIRE Africa is summarised in the statement of T.D. Jakes to the next generation beckoning on the players in the different industries to rise and take the bull by the horn and produce a template of success for successive generations still coming behind them.

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WIRE Africa is an association that seeks to build the next generation of formidably successful women in the real estate industry in Africa, who would step on the foundation being laid by the women that have shown that success as a woman in the real estate space is possible. The focus would be on current young women operating businesses in the real estate value chain – real estate development, transaction advisory, legal advisory, marketing advisory, architecture, marketing, mortgage brokerage, valuation, and branding.

The thrust is to create a platform that empowers, educates and allows women to collaborate in the industry to foster a culture of success in women in real estate in Africa, starting from Nigeria.

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How have you been able to achieve your aim with your initiative Women in Real Estate (WIRE)?
The official launch was initially scheduled for November 2020, but the COVID-19 realities resulted in a delay in commencement. However, plans are currently fully underway to ensure that this initiative kicks off effectively within the next few weeks. I urge women in real estate to watch out for details in the next quarter. We recently held training for real estate marketers in Abuja and the feedback has been massive.

The economy of the country has not been friendly, especially for stakeholders in this sector. What is the fate of realtors as the prices of building materials skyrocket?
Inflation in Nigeria at 17.93 per cent (March 2021) coupled with the devaluation of the naira presents a challenge for most industries and not just the real estate sector. However, a major issue for real estate developers is the fact that many projects that had been sold at certain prices to off-takers have now been negatively impacted by the increased prices of building materials. This slims the expected profit margins and in some instances throws the projects into loss-making transactions. Some developers have, therefore, had to resort to sending upward price revision notices to their buyers as that is the only way they would be able to cover costs and complete the projects successfully. Ultimately, whenever the prices of building materials increase, prices of homes and commercial real estate go up in tandem. Therefore, we expect to see prices of real estate escalate over the next 12 to 36 months and the market would self-regulate eventually.

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Has the security challenges of the country posed any threat to the progress of the industry?
Security challenges in any clime adversely affect the performance and potential expansion of most industries within that jurisdiction. So, in the instance of real estate, the security challenges pose a threat to the growth of the real estate industry; especially in the places that are significantly affected by the insurgency. In addition to this, the security challenges would negatively impact the potentials for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the real estate sector in the country. This could further stunt the portion of the growth in the real estate sector that could otherwise have been fueled by the influx of offshore finance.

You are a medical doctor-turned-realtor, how do you feel about the switch?
Rule No.1, pursue your constructive passions once you recognise them. However, I still look forward to doing a lot of things that touch on my first-degree training as a doctor. Some of those include having niche projects related to the medical sector such as massive hospital constructions, medical villages in which doctors would have home purchase discounts, and so on. So, yes, I have switched careers, but I still intend to switch on the cross-over hat as the years go by with these types of medically-linked projects.

Aside from your success in real estate and property, you are also a restaurateur as well as a motivational speaker. How have been able to combine all these without clashes?
It is all about structure. I have put business structures in place that allow my businesses to run effectively without me having to be in them 24/7. This is my moment to give a shout-out to the members of my teams who work tirelessly to ensure that the organisations succeed. It is amazing how hard and smart they work; whether I am there or not. On this one, the accolades go to my teams. They have been phenomenal. When I count my blessings, I count them twice.

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You are a workaholic, how do you define your leisure?
I need to do some more work on personal leisure. I need to remind myself that I need rest from time to time. However, for now, my best ‘relaxation strategy’ is going to the spa for a good massage. I am literally a regular with regards to that. It calms my nerves. Aside from this, my hobbies are singing to myself and reading.

You recently clocked 40, would you say you have achieved your dreams and what are your aspirations going forward?
I would say God has been faithful to me. As for aspirations, the next decade is a focus on consolidation and a greater focus on maximising opportunities as I move towards 50. Also, I would be heightening my focus on giving back to my world, especially with a focus on younger women coming behind; by consciously demonstrating a template that they can also replicate as they move up the ladder of success. Above all, as I have always done, I have presented my written goals to God, who has always been the doer for His direction and help as I go on to execute the strategies He has placed in my heart.

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