Elections: Weighing options of smooth, deadlocked process

Barely four days to 2019 general elections, real estate experts, developers and investors are calling for a smooth process to forestall doom for the economy. DAYO AYEYEMI reports



As the general elections approach, real estate practitioners and investors have urged politicians, especially political office seekers and their supporters to tread with caution in order not to heat up the polity. Their advice is hinged on recent happenings during the ongoing nationwide political campaigns. Already, the tension is high, investors are suspending actions, while developers are putting on hold activities, waiting for the outcome of the elections. Weighing their options, built environment professionals are calling on all parties to imbibe the spirit of sportsmanship before, during and after the exercise in order to prevent major breakdown of law and order that could spell doom for the entire nation.

Experts’ views

Weighing both options, Managing Director, Financial Derivatives Company (FDC), Mr. Bismarck Rewane, said that if the elections went smoothly, expatriate demand for housing units could lead to increased investor confidence. In case of elections deadlock, he stated that the exchange rate would fall sharply, adding that this would also affect demand for luxury properties. On the general economy, he said: “Smooth elections will boost investor confidence and increase number of operational rigs. “Election deadlock will allow investment in oil sector drop sharply; and militancy attacks in Niger Delta could reduce operational rigs. Activities within the manufacturing sector is negatively affected; PMI could crash to 40. “ Speaking with New Telegraph, immediate past Chairman, Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), Lagos branch, Mr. Samuel Offiong Ukpong, also called for caution among politicians contesting for offices, saying that investors were wary of the outcomes. He said: “A lot of people are keeping their monies, even the Federal Government is heating up the system as you can see from the stock market depletion, while billions of naira have been lost due to uncertainty.” He expressed fear that real estate sector might not be shielded, if other sectors are affected negatively. Consequently, he canvassed for peaceful election, saying that would guarantee stability, investments and economic growth. He maintained that no investors would want to put his money in troubled nations or regions, citing the North East and Niger-Delta regions in Nigeria where Boko Haram insurgency and militancy are as examples. Head of Department of Estate Management, University of Ibadan, Professor Olutoye Ojo, stated that current scenario was not a good moment for real estate transactions until the success of the elections. Currently, he said that everything was hanging in the balance, praying for peaceful election. “As long as there is no war, it means there will be stability,” the university lecturer said. The revamping of real estate sector, the professor said, would be a function of the policy of government after the election, adding that policy stability would improve the sector. He said: “If the policy fails to drive real estate sector, it means there will be doom. but if they can genuinely pursue their investment plans as stated in their manifestos, they will improve the sector. “We should pray that there would not be crisis after the election.” Chairman, HOB Estates Limited, Chief Olusegun Bamgbade, said that smooth elections would guarantee peace and boost real estate business. While canvassing for peace during elections, Bamgbade enjoined politicians to remember that power belonged to God, adding that they should take the outcome of the election like sportsmen. He warned against turbulence and insecurity, saying no investor would put his money in any region where there is problem or crisis. He cautioned that crisis during and after elections could lead to doom for the entire nation.

Real estate

update Rewane noted that the sector’s performance improved marginally in 2018, from -9.4 per cent in first quarter (Q1) to -2.68 per cent in Q3. Although, he pointed out that it was projected to improve further in Q4’18 as the sector catches up with economic growth trajectory. On trends, Rewane, in his FDC report, stated that expatriate demand for housing units had fallen sharply owing to drop in rig count, adding that exchange rate volatility was weighing on demand for luxurious properties. On residential segment, the financial analyst pointed out that developers had been shifting focus to studio apartments, noting that there was increased development in student accommodation sub sector. He mentioned that critical success factors in the retail market were accessibility, parking and entertainment facilities, and that e-commerce would remain significant in the retail sub-sector. In the commercial real estate development segment, Rewane said there was an increased saturation of office spaces, adding that high vacancy factors were expected for grade A offices. The renowned economist pointed out that dearth of infrastructure would continue to increase cost of development in the real estate sector.

New developments

Some of the new developments to watch in 2019 include Twins Lake Mall, Bildiamo Mall, Sogenal Tower and Atlantic Resort. The are all located in Lekki, Sangotedo, Ikoyi and Oniru in Victoria Island, Lagos respectively.

Last line

All politicians must embrace peace before, during and after the elections to promote economic growth and development of Nigeria.

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