Maximising opportunities in Lagos real estate market
Towards safeguarding the interests of real estate stakeholders and conforming with international best practices, stakeholders have agreed on the need to harmonise and sanitise the sector.
The stakeholders met at a two-day Lagos Real Estate Market Place Conference and Exhibitions, the first of its kind organised by the state’s Real Estate Regulatory Authority (LASRERA).
Key speakers at the panel sessions included Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chapel Hill Denham, Bolaji Balogun; Assistant Vice President Retail Mortgage Underwriting, Mr. Kunle Faleti; Femi Ademola of Cordros Capital; Babatunde Ajayi of United Capital Plc; Kayode Falasinu of AVA Capital; Sammy Chidoka of Kairos Capital; Tokubo Ajayi of United Capital Trustee; Mrs Funmi Ekundayo of STL Trustees; and Adekunle Awojobi of FBN Quest Trustees.
Others are expert from Morocco, Ms Tagma Mounla; CEO, Oct5 Limited, Jide Odusola; CEO Odo Ogun Castles Estate Limited, Buddy King; PWAN Group, Dr. Augustine Onwumere; CEOs of RTD Thompsons Limited, Otunba Tom Daramola; Gracia Group, Ms Lolade Abuta and Seagle Properties Limited, Yemi Lawal respectively.
The Special Adviser to the State Governor on Housing, Mrs. Toke Benson-Awoyinka, who set the tone for the discussion, said the idea was muted as an avenue to provide practitioners, stakeholders and consumers, a platform to unearth the various opportunities available in real estate.
“We realised that there are genuine real estate practitioners/ property developers as well as genuine home and property seekers who are very desirous of credibility in real estate transactions, hence our intervention as a state government is to provide this forum, which will help bridge the identified gap.
“As parts of our efforts towards transforming the industry, LASRERA has leveraged on technology to make it easy for anyone anywhere in the world to access the data of accredited real estate practitioners/ property developers and their products,” she said
According to her, this is one of the strategies being used by the government to curb proliferation of uncertified practitioners, quackery and unprofessionalism.
Benson-Awoyinka urged investors to create a home ownership model that would address the deficits observed in housing market in through the Private Public Partnership (PPP) initiative.
Benson-Awoyinka identified the real estate market as a sector that has a tremendous multiplier-effect on the broader economy through two channels: private investment and housing services.
Earlier, the State’s Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Mr. Olalere Odusote, expressed the desire of the government to have sustainable, reliable power and greener energy towards the realisation of its vision of a 21st Century economy.
While quoting the United Nations statistics, which revealed that real estate accounts for about 40per cent of the world’s energy consumption and a third of all carbon emissions, Odusote submitted that there is a need to ensure availability of clean solutions and innovations to make buildings future-proof, adding that in line with SDG 7, efforts must be increased in energy efficiency.
The commissioner, who acknowledged the fact that real estate developers and owners have started recognising the importance of clean energy, maintained that the practitioners must ensure access to secure, affordable and sustainable energy by exploring the option of clean energy and efficient solutions.
As part of the state government’s efforts to promote greener and environmental sustainability, the commissioner reported that Lagos has embarked on the conversion of all streetlights from High-Pressure Sodium (HPS) to the brighter and significantly more efficient LED lighting, assuring that all 39,000 streetlights across the state will be retrofitted over the next six months to reduce operational costs by 65 per cent.
He noted that street lighting would be further expanded to ensure that all major roads and designated public spaces get full lighting coverage, adding that these clean energy solutions are crucial and beneficial to the real estate sector as they guarantee significant energy cost savings for buildings.
Similarly, the state’s commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Dr. Idris Salako, said the ministry has put measures in place to ensure speedy granting of planning permit to developers.
He called on property owners and developers interested in obtaining planning permit to always perfect their applications to avoid delays, as the process is clear and seamless.
As part of the reforms, he hinted that the ministry has increased the number of supervisory directors and district officers and devolve planning permit approvals down to the level of district officers
Also, the Attorney General/Commissioner for Justice in the state, Mr Moyosore Onigbanjo, said the task force on land grabbers activities has received more than 4,300 petitions in four years. Out of these, he stated that over 2,000 petitions have been attended to, while others are pending.
At the forum, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said beginning from first quarter of next year, all land related transactions in the state would be done online.
The plan, he said, is to further accelerate the process of getting approvals on land matters and create an enduring business-driven property development market in the State.
Sanwo-Olu said the state’s Department of Lands had built the required capacity for smooth transition to the online platform, stressing that the plan was already in its final stage.
When the web-based platform is finally launched, there will be no need for applicants seeking for Certificates of Occupancy (C of O), survey and building plan approvals to physically submit paper documents for authorisation. All documentation and payments will be done by applicants from the comfort of their homes.
He said the new development would bring about quick turnaround time in land transactions and boost private investors’ confidence in provision of home ownership model that will address deficits in housing.
He said: “We have improved on our GIS solution to accelerating land matters in Lagos. From the first quarter of next year, we will be launching an online platform on which all land transactions will be done. When the project kick-starts next year, there will be one-stop shop for all transactions relating to land, including Governor’s approval on CofO, and building approval by Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development.
“We have given our commitment on this, because of the need to improve the turnaround time from when people submit their requests for approval and the time the authorisation is completed. We cannot afford to disappoint private investors and applicants seeking real time approval. We are raising our capacity, so that we can respond to the requests and discharge them.”
The Governor charged residents and property developers applying for approvals to stop cutting corners and circumventing the process, stressing that sharp practices would only make it difficult for impatient applicants to get their documents approved.