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Diaspora funds lift real estate sector

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Diaspora funds lift real estate sector

The sustained investments in the real estate sector by Nigerians in the Diaspora have continued to lift the struggling industry from its doldrums, Business Hallmark findings have shown. The post-Covid19 economic downturn, it would be recalled, had crashed the real estate market to its lowest level in decades.

Owing to a sharp erosion of the purchasing powers of many Nigerians and an upsurge in costs caused by subsequent lock downs, the real estate sector experienced a gradual decline in building activities, resulting in the sector being named one of the worst performing economic sub- sector in over two years by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

However, the tide has turned, as the industry is gradually coming out of recession, thanks to Nigerians abroad pumping billions of dollars in fresh capital to replicate the same infrastructure they enjoy in developed countries.

According to BH findings, many Nigerian cities, towns, villages and communities have become huge construction sites as diasporians race among themselves to own befitting properties in their home country.

From Lagos to Oyo, Ogun, Abia, Rivers, Imo, Kano, Kogi, Edo, Delta, Enugu, Adamawa and Benue, to mention just a few states, iconic structures bankrolled by Nigerians in the Diaspora are springing up daily, spurring job creation in construction, property management, maintenance and related industries.

Experts in the industry, who spoke on the craze for properties, attributed it to several factors. According to the experts, some of the factors include the desire by many Nigerians abroad to replicate the same infrastructure they enjoy in developed countries at home; the need to provide good accommodations for their parents and families, as well as the need to provide for their retirement by investing in income yielding ventures like real estate.

A real estate expert, Dr. Tunji Braimoh, said the coming of diaspora funds saved the real estate industry from imminent collapse.

“Thank God for Diaspora funds, many of us in the industry will have been out of business by now.

“If you see any housing development presently ongoing in the country, it is most probably been executed by a diasporian.

“In fact, seven to eight construction works are commissioned by Nigerians living outside the country.

“They are largely helped by the crash of the naira. If you noticed, their (diasporians) incursion into real estate was not that pronounced, especially when the naira exchanged for a dollar below N400.

“But now, if you take $1,000 to the bank to change it, you will come home with a bag filled with naira notes.

“I am currently helping my daughter in the UK, who works as a teacher and earns £42,000 a year, aside from other income from her side hustling, to build her own house in Nigeria.

“I make sure she sends home at least £2,000 monthly, which translates to about N4 million. We started the twin duplex in January 2023. After gulping over N70 million, it is now nearing completion.

“Another N20 million to N25 million, which is her two and half months’ pay in the UK will complete the job”, the elated real estate practitioner and doting father declared.

Findings revealed that diasporians’ contributions to the real estate industry is huge.

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According to available data, Nigerians in the diaspora are the biggest investors in the nation’s real estate sector, accounting for 70 percent of total investments.

Speaking during a property investment conference tagged PRINVEST 2022, the Managing Director of Romax Properties Limited, Ugoada Orji, said Nigerians in the diaspora are investing in real estate not just for their occasional visits to Nigeria but also as their retirement homes.

“The demographic for investments in Nigeria’s real estate industry is changing every sector.

“Our recent survey shows that 70 percent of the investment in Nigeria’s real estate comes from Nigerians in the diaspora while 30 percent is accrued from Nigerians at home”, the Romax Properties boss stated.

BH checks revealed that 30 percent of diaspora remittances in the last three years went into property investment.

A data released by the NBS showed that Nigerian diaspora population remitted $65.34 billion in the last three years to boost economic activities in the country. According to the statistics bureau, the remittance inflow represents four percent of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

A breakdown of the figure indicates that $19.602billion, representing 30 percent of the $65.34 billion diaspora remittances for three years, went into property investment.

Corroborating the data, the founder of Nigeria’s leading provider and pioneer of short-let apartments, Digital Landlords and ShortletHomes, Keji Giwa, said Nigerians in the Diaspora are not just high-income earners, but significantly contributing five percent to the nation’s GDP.

“Out of the funds remitted to Nigeria each year from the diaspora market unsurprisingly, 70 percent of remittances are spent on household and personal uses, including education, while the outstanding 30 percent goes towards building or buying a house”, Giwa noted.

Also speaking, the Chief Executive Officer of Mainviews Properties, Engr. Ajao Abiola, said diasporians appetite for properties has grown in recent times, with the real estate sector now the number one investment choice of many Nigerians living abroad.

“While the naira exchange rate and cost of living have been challenging to many Nigerians at home, real estate remains a stable asset class in Nigeria that provides protection from inflation and currency devaluation”.

The Mainviews Properties boss added that Nigerian diaspora investment in real estate has a profound impact on the Nigerian economy by driving growth, creating opportunities, and fostering sustainable development.

“By strategically investing in real estate projects, diaspora investors not only generate financial returns but also contribute to the social, economic, and infrastructural advancement of Nigeria, paving the way for a brighter and more prosperous future

“Diaspora investment in property has a multiplier effect, as their money flows into the local economy through the developers, contractors, suppliers, and hands of all workers/labourers involved in each project. This will feed and bring ease in a way to many homes”, he said.

A public commentator, Asiwaju Ezra, said that apart from generating revenue streams for investors through rental income, real estate investments also contribute to government revenue and tax collections.

“Increased economic activity in the real estate sector boosts tax revenue, which can be channeled towards public infrastructure projects, social services, and economic development programs”, he stated.

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