Shelter is one of man’s basic needs however in Nigeria, it is not one many people can afford. With a population of over 180 million, the World Bank places Nigeria’s housing deficit at over 17 million which is A LOT.
The Nigerian Bureau of Statistics estimates that 700,000 units are expected every year over the next 20 years to be able to deal with the deficit however, the country is currently adding about 100,000 units per year.
The Nigerian real estate industry is still largely the way it has been from the onset, which is offline with little reliance on technology even in building whereas technologies like 3D-printing, building information modelling and a lot more are presently being taken advantage of. I still vividly remember a funny story told at a meeting late last year by a veteran in the real estate sector. He let us know how he had his clients fly all the way from China so they could take a look at various houses available back then (but then that was a little while back).
There’s not much information or detailed data available on the sector and with an estimated value of at least N59 trillion, it is no small sector. Despite these challenges, growth in the real estate sector has occurred albeit little.
One of these is a gradual adoption of tech to ease the difficulty in choosing a home while providing various options for prospective buyers. The role of tech in Nigerian real estate is not one that may be adding more units of housing to the industry but has provided an avenue for persons to be able to have options to more houses within their financial capabilities and also pay for certain homes that would initially be off their reach.
Choosing a home is no small task because this is where one would spend a lot of time, well except for a lot of Lagosians who seem to share that time with traffic. Thus, if it is not convenient, you maybe one sad and grumpy person most of the time.
Where Tech has Aided the Industry
The largest area of adoption of tech in Nigerian real estate is in listing. From commercial spaces to private residences and event centres, all can now be easily accessed online. Presently there over 10 listing sites in Nigeria with tolet.com.ng seemingly ahead of the pack thanks to various investments worth over a million dollars.Though the listing sites are growing, their coverage is still very limited with a lot of states not adequately represented as focus seems to be on Lagos and Abuja (for obvious reasons of course). Decadehousing however, is focused on Akwa Ibom state.
I really think its ridiculous to earn on a monthly basis and pay rent on an annual basis. Although options are being made available, certain platforms have also risen to solve this annoying problem. Fibre.ng and paymyrent.ng allows for prospective tenants to be able to pay on monthly basis as against a year upfront by providing assistance.
There are still a few more hurdles to jump in order to make housing more convenient and accessible, yet these changes are welcomed. A look at the American site realtor.com, can show you data down to street level and the estimated cost of each house is open and available for all. The closest data I could access was on homes.mitula.com.ng showing various rent costs over periods of time.
Though the world is moving ahead with technological innovations like a larger usage of precast construction, building information modeling process offering greater clarity in design, analysis, and control, 3-D laser technology for creating a digital reproduction, and Energy Modeling systems using new software for performing energy analysis we are still yet to scratch the surface. Tech like VR have already started seeing use cases in other climes with virtua tours of prospective properties which definitely takes it a step further than the available photos on the platform. Hmm, AI or having a smart home is another thing. Having “Jarvis” help you out doesn’t seem so bad. But with this erratic power supply and poor internet connectivity, I’m not quite certain when this would pick up.
Real estate is a huge industry and rightly so as it deals with a need required by all – shelter. With a lot of needs, I do think that the possibilities with tech are endless.