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HEADING-BUILDING FOR THE DIASPORA MARKET: 5 THINGS TO CONSIDER.

Today, Victoria Island, alongside its adjuncts – Ikoyi and Lekki – boasts of some of the most aesthetic structures in Africa, drawing massive investments into the real estate sector from home and abroad. One visible trend that has helped rake in these investments from the diaspora, has been the competitive environment that has consequently spurred creativity among industry practitioners, with new innovations being churned out on a consistent basis to woo a spectrum of investors who are already exposed to global best practices in real estate development.

One other factor that has played a contributory role in wooing diaspora investors into the highbrow real estate market has been the nature of the facility management. This is primarily due to the fact that facility management supports the functionality, safety and sustainability of buildings.

Ultimately, it has been a strategic blend of the continued upscaling of standards, coupled with the profitability inherent in the market in these highbrow areas, that have drawn many diaspora investors to key into what has become a multi-trillion-naira market. As a result, many scramble to invest in the market owing to its profitability and huge potential for massive return on investment.

This explains why, despite the economic austerity in the country, particularly the rising inflation which has significantly shot up the cost of housing, experts have projected confidence that the real estate sector would post about 6 per cent growth by the end of 2022.

One of the firms wooing Nigerians abroad to highbrow areas in Lagos is MDS Properties Limited. In a chat with our correspondent, Ms Ifueko Oyegun, the Managing Partner at MDS Properties Limited, she said wooing diaspora clients had always boiled down to ensuring that certain key requirements are met. She said, “Clients that we work with who live in the Diaspora are quite easy to please once their requirements are met. The quality of the finishing as well as the construction is high priority ie the wiring, plumbing, painting, fixtures, fittings and accessories. High quality does not necessarily mean the highest end of products or the most expensive but it has to meet all global quality standards. Functionality is also important. This goes back to the experience and exposure of the architect and developer. How functional is the space? They also prefer safe and secure locations and estates with good security” She added that most diaspora investors required flexible payment plans since they live in countries where people get mortgages to buy properties so it would be easier for them if there is a payment plan for the property” she concluded.

Similarly, the CEO of The Address Homes, one of the firms wooing diaspora Nigerians to highbrow areas in Lagos, Mr Bisi Onasanya, during a recent tour of some of the company’s construction projects in Ikoyi, Lagos, said ensuring that construction standards met the fancy of diaspora Nigerians had become a focal point of the company’s recent development projects. He said: “We put structures which we call homes, not houses. These homes compete with the best that you can see outside the country, and yet, without getting you to break the bank in terms of being able to pay or affordability. We see people who try to relocate from abroad – Canada, UK, Europe – and there is a minimum standard of living that they are used to.“They like to enter a home and there are basic things they like to see, and in the environment also. We found that missing, to some extent. We wanted a situation in which you live in the Address Home and you’re proud to be living in the Address Home because of the comfortability we offer. That’s what we have been able to do. Have we done everything? We’ve done our best, but we still believe that we’ll keep improving.”

In a chat with our correspondent, the President of Nigerian Institution of Builders in Facilities Management, Dr Akinsola Olufemi, said that while the real estate market had recorded significant success with regard to drawing the attention of diaspora Nigerians, much work still needed to be done to ensure quality standards similar to what was obtainable in other parts of the world.

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