Stakeholders in the real estate industry have identified uncertainty over land titles as one of the major factors inhibiting the growth of the industry in the country.
Other inhibitors, according to them, are regulatory bottlenecks, difficulties in obtaining permits and approvals, infrastructure deficit and funding constraints.
The stakeholders spoke in Lagos at the 7th edition of the Real Estate Unite Summit, which brought industry leaders and investors together to exchange views and chart a vision for the well-being of the African real estate sector.
The event, organised by 3INVEST, a real estate company with an advocacy goal to educate, redefine and promote the sub-Sahara African real estate industry, provided a platform for residential, office, retail, health care, hospitality and industrial sectors of the property sector to examine issues in the industry.
The Founder/Chief Executive Officer, Eximia Realty Limited, Hakeem Ogunniran, cited land tenure policy as a major obstacle to real estate development, saying, “We all know the issue around land tenure. There is still uncertainty on title to land. We have to deal with this because at the root of everything that we are discussing are the physical assets.
“There is the issue of perfection of titles, dispute and litigation; there are so many parts of Nigeria where people are sitting on properties that have been declared null and void,”
Citing the recent judgement of the Supreme Court on a 33-year-old dispute over a parcel of land in Iwaya, Lagos, Ogunniran stated, “We need to deal with the issue of legal enforcement, particularly in terms of adjudication. There will always be disputes but you need an avenue to quickly go to the court and settle your matter quickly. Real estate requires certainty. It requires quick dispensation of justice on adjudication matters.”
He lamented the regulatory bottlenecks militating against projects, saying, “The first thing is that we have so many regulatory bodies that have oversight functions on your process.”
On infrastructure, he noted that typically, the government should provide primary and secondary infrastructure.
Ogunniran said, “But we all know that even primary infrastructure is non-existent. As a developer, you are a mini-local government on your own. You pay charges, yet you have to put the necessary infrastructure in place.
“In this country, to do a major development, infrastructure, as a percentage of your cost of development, will be as high as 15 to 20 per cent, if you want to do the right thing. Best practice, it should be between three to five per cent. When you have to spend significant money on infrastructure, it makes nonsense of your yield.”