Story by Moses Adeniyi
The former Chairman of the Lagos State branch of the Nigerian Institute of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), Rotarian Sola Fatoki has said the poor state of the nation’s economy is affecting the real estate sector.
According to him, the problem of quackery identified by some stakeholders as the major challenge of the Real Estate sector, is nothing but the end result of a failing economy wreaking havoc on all issues relating to the sector and has created a room of abode for quackery to take place.
Averring his position, Fatoki said, “There are enough regulations, but all these become worthless with economic downturn. People will try to circumvent them to make false profit”
“Quackery would not have been possible or be as high as it is, if the economy is good and everyone is gainfully employed. Quackery is done by all manner of people, even by those in other professions as well as those unemployed.”
According to him, funding of the Real Estate sector in Nigeria “is virtually absent or very low” expressing worries that such attitude of low funding is not encouraging, while noting that the Nigerian economy has not been able to ensure provision to cater for a good mortgage system.
The position of Fatoki pointing to the state of the Nigerian Economy as the grand problem of the Real Estate sector, appears not to dovetail with the position of the President of the Nigerian Institute of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), Rowland Abonta who earlier this year had proclaimed that the greatest challenge of the real estate sector in Nigeria “is the influx of quacks into the profession.”
The NIESV President, while responding in an interview on a question bordering on the challenges of the Real Estate profession, declared a combat of war against quackery as a poison posing grave threat to the survival of the profession.
“… Today in Nigeria, if any one does property transaction with the wrong person, he goes home with the impression that all Estate Surveyors are the same. But when you come closer and investigate what happened, you would find out that somebody somewhere who acted as an Estate Agent misrepresented the profession.
“We are not taking it likely and we are doing everything within our power to ensure that those who spoil our name in the real estate market are brought to book. It is a difficult task, but we are not going to give up on it. All we need is to solicit government’s and agencies’ support, particularly the enforcement agencies. We also need to work together to flush out the bad eggs in the profession and are doing a lot of enlightenment.” He said.
According to Fatoki, the major challenge of the real estate is the poor state of the economy, and not a matter of regulation, stressing that there are enough regulations guiding the real estate sector, but all these regulations becomes ineffective in the face of a downward economic wave, given that people in an effort to survive will make all forms of attempts to circumvent such regulations to make false profit.
The position of Fatoki that there are enough regulations guiding the Real Estate sector tends to juxtapose the stance of the Managing Director of Realty Point Limited, Debo Adejana, who expressed concern that the profession of Estate Agency is not well regulated in Nigeria.
Moreover, Fatoki, declared that the real estate sector is experiencing a lull with high rate of increasing vacancies stressing that the “economy is bad and the effect is mostly felt in the property market.
“Most people are moving out to low rental areas to be able to cope with their accommodation needs. For example, someone in a 3-bedroom flat now goes down to 2-bedroom flat. Also, people now change from high rental areas to medium and low rental areas. That is why you see people moving from Island to Mainland. From Mainland to Ikeja and other low rental areas.”
He went further to stress that as a result of economic downturn, a lot of property owners want to sell off their properties to get capital for other investments, but yet there are no buyers to patronize those properties, noting that most properties developed by developers and inventors are undergoing similar fate.
He however urged the government, to revamp the economy, tackle unemployment, and develop infrastructure stressing that these will impact the Real Estate sector in a positive light.