Bilaad Realty Unveils: Investment Opportunity Goldmines
Abraham Maslow included shelter in his famed hierarchy of the basic physiological needs of human beings. But homeownership transcends meeting the need for shelter. It is a gateway to other life achievements and provides the psychological boost sometimes needed to explore opportunities as well as security.
Nigeria is a country of over 200 million people. With housing both a necessity and a human right, investing in such a huge market with trusted developers can only yield great results. Although inflation in Nigeria has been above the benchmark of the single-digit set by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for several years now, the pandemic affected global supply chains and drove up inflation globally.
We are beginning to see the war in Ukraine driving up the prices of crude oil in the international market and the landing cost of petrol in Nigeria, resulting in serious pressure on consumers and prospective home buyers and investors. It is important, therefore, for Nigeria to reverse the investment outflow, by improving the domestic investment climate, and addressing macro-economic challenges in Nigeria today, especially high inflation.
The investment landscape can be extremely dynamic and ever-evolving. But those who take the time to see the opportunities, and understand the basic principles and the different asset classes, stand to gain significantly over the long haul.
CHIEF BUSINESS AND STRATEGY OFFICER
Emphasis from our perspective
In an interview conducted by Financial Nigeria, Africa’s Premier Development and Finance Journal, with our Chief Business and Strategy Officer, Abdullahi Umar, the opportunities and issues in Nigeria’s housing development sector, were discussed.
Financial Nigeria (FN): What are the opportunities in the Nigerian real estate market today?
Abdullahi Umar (AU): The Nigerian real estate market presents quite expansive opportunities across the value chain of the sector. From industrial and artisanal production of building materials to product distribution, development of homes, housing finance and revenue generation, opportunities abound for individual and institutional investors, government, and the regulators. A recent estimate is that there is a deficit of 20 million housing units in the country. This is an increase from the 17 million units of housing deficit that have been cited for years. Indeed, the provision of real estate market data is another area of investment opportunity.
FN: What is the vision that is driving Bilaad?
AU: Bilaad Realty has a vision to be a global market leader, engendering partnerships and standards in the provision of sustainable real estate solutions. This statement highlights the key components of our vision as a business entity. We are not just looking at Nigeria or the African region; we are looking at the global market. In our quest to be a global market leader in real estate development, we have set standards – promoting sustainable lifestyles – which constitute the foundation of everything we do and consider to be valuable.
FN: Bilaad has admirably driven the agenda for sustainability in the real estate sector for years now. Why is real estate a frontier for adopting sustainability principles?
AU: For us, housing is the bedrock of life activities. So, the first point I would like to make with regard to Bilaad and sustainability is that we are in the business of lifestyle. We want to positively influence how people live. Bilaad aims to help interpret the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into practical everyday living for our clients. We want to connect homes to clean water. We want to provide access to clean energy, leveraging solar and gas, while promoting efficient use of energy. From our analysis, a lot of the SDGs connect to real estate, from Ending Poverty (SDG 1) to Building Partnerships (SDG 17).
FN: What are the major sustainability features of Bilaad’s real estate developments?
AU: The main sustainability feature that Bilaad offers is value for money. We bring together such important features as internet connectivity (fibre-to-home), greenery, wellness facilities, sidewalks, jogging and cycling tracks, recreational parks for children to go and play, clean energy, etc. The shared facilities in our housing estates significantly reduce the cost of their acquisition by individual homeowners.
All the features we provide, taking cognizance of social and environmental responsibility, together deliver cost-efficiency to homebuyers. I would also like to add that all our sustainability features are major, because they are carefully selected solutions, and they together form our value offering.
FN: With regard to improving liquidity in the real estate market, what role do you see that Nigerians in diaspora can play?
AU: Nigerians at home have a role to play in fostering investment flows from the diaspora. The role is largely concerned with improving our business practices. The government and the regulators also need to foster an enabling environment for investments – local and foreign.
Nigerians in diaspora are missing out on investment opportunities in Nigeria. Part of the reason for this is because the risk of investing in the country is often over-magnified – or exaggerated – by those looking at Nigeria from outside. One of the ways to overcome the high-risk perception is for Nigerians abroad to partner with credible businesses at home to invest.
FN: What is your outlook for Bilaad in the coming years?
Several factors will influence our outlook. The first is our commitment to health and wellness through the provision of sustainable housing. Second, we will be keenly observing the political landscape. Political risk is understandably on the radar as the country is entering the next electoral cycle. It is important that stakeholders should avoid escalation of the risk, so that it can very quickly dissipate after the general election which comes up early next year. Third is our active engagement with the opportunities.
Over the last four years, our project portfolio has grown substantially. This astonishing growth is one of the distinguishing characteristics of the Nigerian market. Looking forward, we see that the efforts of the government to diversify its revenue from oil and gas can help unlock more opportunities within the real estate value chain