Construction booms at Nigeria’s big cities amid challenges

January 30, 2020 -

Movement of excavators on site, dumpers, cranes, builders laying concrete and artisans doing diverse jobs are now common scenes once again at various sites in four of Nigeria’s mega cities. Nigeria’s real estate sector was significantly impacted by the economic recession, with growth dropping in 2015 and 2016, and remaining subdued in 2017 and early 2018.

But recovery in terms of rise in construction of variety of residential, commercial, industrial, retail and mixed use developments in Abuja, Lagos, Kano and Port Harcourt, appears to be imminent despite the perceived weak demand, affordability and funding challenges facing the real sector. Findings by our reporters show that developers are speedily resuming work on housing estate projects, commercial and industrial property developments that stalled during the recession just as new project launches are set to happen soon.

Although some high-end office and residential projects remain stalled, investors are now increasingly turning their attention towards smaller and more affordable projects, just as increased government focus on affordable housing, has raised expectations of a revival in the industry.

Findings showed that the boom in construction projects may have been fuelled by guaranteed political stability following the successful conclusion of the 2019 general elections, key appointments both at the federal and state levels coupled with the signing into law of the 2020 budget as well as the onset of the dry season spell.

Abuja, the political capital of the country, appears to be Nigeria’s biggest property hotspots so far, thanks to several ongoing mega constructions and recently completed projects in the city. A variety of residential, commercial, industrial, retail and mixed use developments have recently sprung up. Construction of mega plazas/shopping malls appear to be enjoying a boom at the moment in the city as possible growing demand for office space from various multi-national and domestic corporations, has seen shopping mall developments at virtually every part of the city.

For instance, the popular Sheriff Plaza located on Aminu Kano Crescent, Wuse ll, was recently pulled down to pave way for construction of a state-of-the-art structure that could make the new Sheriff plaza the hottest commercial property at the centre of Abuja. At the residential estate level, findings by our reporters show that areas in the city centre like Jabi, Utako, Mabushi, Wuye, Guzape, Gwarimpa, Kado and Karfe and on the outskirts of the city entre- Pyakasa, Sabon-Lugbe, Chika and Airport Road are witnessing estates whose construction recently picked up. The chief business and strategy officer of Bilaad Realty, an estate development group, Abdullahi Umar said although slow, the market is appreciating at the moment. Abdullahi said the firm was planning to expand into other cities in Nigeria like Lagos. The Chief Executive Officer, NAWA Properties, Alhaji Abdulrahman Buhari, said developers were turning attention towards smaller and more affordable projects considering the financial status of off-takers, a factor which may be influencing rising demand. In Lagos, construction is also picking up. With the number of buildings, developments and infrastructural projects currently underway, the Lagos streetscapes and skyline is drastically transforming. Property developers in the Lekki area of the Free Trade Zone, the proposed second airport and the Dangote Refinery all in the Lekki area are positioning themselves to gain from the recovery in real sector.

Top property developments in the Ibeju Lekki area include the Citadel of Dreams, Amazing Grace, Almonds and Vines Gardens; Masters Villa and Citadel Homes and Parks. Africa’s largest urban developer, Rendeavour, in partnership with the Lagos State Government, have also embarked on a new satellite city development in the Ibeju Lekki area. The project, named Alaro City, is a mixed-income, city-scale development complemented by high quality commercial office complexes, homes, schools, healthcare facilities, hotels, entertainment and 150 hectares of parks and open spaces. From the last visit by our reporter to the site, Alaro City is at an advance stage of building its first 3.5km road – a four-lane, asphalt thoroughfare. In oil rich Rivers State, the rural urban development policy of the state government which brought about infrastructural development is opening market for estate developers in the state. An estate valuer, John Amako said that with roads being constructed to link some of the rural communities, access to the capital, Port Harcourt, is now possible in less than 30 minutes. "Places like Etche, Oyigbo and Eleme have so many estates being constructed,” he said. Our correspondent gathered that about four estates such as the Gulf estate located at the popular Odili Road, The NAF Harmony estate located on the premises of the Nigerian Airforce base near Eliozu and Kanah Estate are presently being developed. At the Gulf estate a large portion of the estate have been completed and occupied while the remaining sections are being developed by the owners. Part of the NAF Harmony estate has been completed while the other section is still under construction. The Boeing estate at the Odili road is still being developed. The expansive estate has attained about 80 per cent completion. In Kano, estate developers have reported boom in private estate development in recent times. Late last year through to this year various private estates, residential, commercial and industrial buildings have been completed. According to Malam Isa Shehu Yelwa, an estate agent, the state has recorded boom in the number of newly constructed hotels. "Initially, Kano State could only put claim to few 5 star hotels and 3 star hotels, but presently there are many 5 and 3 star hotels in the state than what we used to have some years ago,” he said. The boom in estates establishment and residential buildings is visible around the Government Reserved Areas (GRA). A visit to the areas revealed new structures being put in place. Magajin Rumfa road, Matan Fada road, Lamido Crescent road, Kwairanga road and Batawa close among other places are areas where developments are taking place. A source at the Kano State Bureau for Land Management, attributed the boom in property development in the state to the ease in some of the services the bureau provides like land acquisition, compensation, allocation, processing, registration of land transaction among others.