Interview with Ruth Obih, CEO of 3Invest
Nigeria, with a population of 160 million, is currently under-housed. Its real estate potential is largely untapped. How promising is this potential? What contribution can it make to the nation’s economy?
The figure for housing deficit in Nigeria presently stands at 18 million. This means 11.25 percent of the population presently lacks basic living facility. To understand the potential of the sector, you have to imagine a ready-made market of 18 million potential consumers of a product which you have to offer. The importance of Real Estate to the future of Nigeria’s economy cannot be overemphasized especially when one takes into consideration the role it has played in the improvement of economies of countries like China, Brazil, Russia, India, South Africa, and so on. So there is a future for the sector despite the fact that it currently contributes less than 5 percent to Nigeria’s gross domestic earning.
Within Nigeria, which real estate hotspot would you rather make your investment? Also which of the current infrastructural investments in the country excites you?
Well, what you call hotspot is relative. However, I understand your question clearly. Let me state that the ‘hotspot’ are so called because of a single principle of demand and supply. Those armed with effective demand are not the lower income earners; they are the high income earners, so highbrow areas will continue to thrive than low cost areas because the low cost market, though has the need for housing, they do not have the resources to translate their needs.
Be that as it may, retail real estate is the bulls eye now because of the growing middle-class and the population’s need. A lot of investments are looking into the country and this has increased the demand for space – either grade A office space or shopping malls.
Overall, real estate still remains a lucrative sector in Nigeria. How viable would you say it is?
Real Estate is one of the most lucrative ventures anywhere in the world. So Nigeria cannot be a different case. So long as shelter; in whatever form, is still a basic need of man real estate will continue to be a lucrative sector. Nigeria’s Real Estate Sector is one of the most lucrative in the world. An incredible expanse of land, a growing middle class, and a whopping population of 160 million people! All we need is to get the sector right and Real Estate will become another black gold of sort.