Since the beginning of Covid-19 pandemic last year, almost all the sectors in the country have been badly hit. But despite the crisis in most of the sectors, the real estate business proves to be doing fine. Why is that so, despite the many expert’s predictions that the sector would be greatly hit by the Covid-19?
One of the real estate players who took decisive steps to change the narrative in the sector is Dr Bamidele Onalaja of RevolutionPlus Properties Company. When the Covid-19 pandemic broke out last year February, a lot of real estate players in Nigeria predicted doom for the sector but rather than for them to accept their fate, many of them adopted methods to deal with the situation. One of them is Dr Bamidele Onalaja. When City People asked him a few months ago how he’s coped with the economy and what he did to change the narrative, Dr Bamidele said “You know as, at last year, real estate is the 4th contributor to the GDP. It is the 4th sector that contributed the most to the Nigerian economy. Now that the oil price has dropped significantly, but surprisingly, real estate didn’t crash; real estate is growing. If anybody tells you the price of the real estate crashed a lie. What some of us have been doing is to give people to pay for a longer period. What we don’t normally do, we are now doing it. Example: if you want to buy a property of 20 million, normally we don’t do 2 years but we now do that. If you are buying one million naira property, we don’t do 12 months interest-free but we now do that as well. We ask you to pay in 12 months interest-free. So, I can say real estate has picked up significantly and I can tell you that I have made more money in the last 2 months. That’s to show you it has not dropped”
He said further that the lockdown has not in anyway affected real estate. He said, It has given the industry new opportunities. But initially, when Covid-19 first started around March, there was panic. We were shocked and there was a drop. But in April, when we all realised it, most of us now embraced the Internet. We were having meetings on Zoom, Webinar etc. We kicked off well and I did some Zoom training for people. I spoke on so many platforms online, so property business picked up in April and it has been rising since then because they said everybody should sit at home where do you sleep if you don’t have a home?
Dr Harrison Agboifon, Managing Director of Landmark Corporate, said a lot about how his company coped during the pandemic.
“Hmmm! 2020 was an interesting year. We had great plans. When the pandemic started, we went back to the drawing board to review our plans for 2020 because we actually looked at it and said Wow! This pandemic will probably affect a lot of companies, a lot of companies will close down. But looking back it was not a bad year for us. We had to sit down to think and we had to benchmark most of our products to Nigerians in diaspora & it worked out, especially when the dollar rate began to rise. And that led to growth in the Real Estate industry. A lot of money came in from Nigeria diaspora that was in 2019. A lot came in also in 2020. The money that came in 2020 doubled that of 2019. Reason? A lot of people in the Diaspora want to own a house, and they wanted to do real estate investment. Real estate investment is good in Nigeria. I keep telling people to do real estate investment because the value of real estate in Nigeria keeps rising and it never comes down unlike other countries like Canada and America.
So, during this last year the pandemic brought about one of our best years in the real estate industry. The pandemic was a blessing in disguise. It was a year that we had to restrategise our strategy. At the end of the day it worked very perfectly for us. We had to look at, how do we want to benefit from this pandemic? How do we want the people in the Diaspora? How do we want to get across to them? Like I always say to people. The world is a global village. The world has turned global. We reached out to many of them using all the available means. The world was going VIRTUAL, we had to come up with different initiatives and at the end of the day it worked perfectly well for us and the real estate sector. So, I can say 2020 was a good year for us”.
The Managing Director of Adron Homes and Properties, Aare Adetola Emmanuelking, also in one of his interviews with City People revealed how his company has coped during pandemic.
“The lockdown affected all the sectors of society. At Adron, we are into Real Estate business and whatever affects Real Estate business, generally speaking, affects everybody because it is a global pandemic.
However, an individual’s extra-mile approach helped. When we saw that the centre point of everything about this pandemic did not look good, we took some key decisions. I can tell you that Housing seems to be the best vaccine right now. It is the vaccine we know until any other new thing comes up. Right now, it is Stay at Home. There is a 10 pm curfew now. That gave us the impetus to look inwards and think of what to do. We doubled our efforts. We started creating products, more products that will be affordable to Nigerians. For us, it has been an awesome experience”
He further revealed the lessons that was learned from the COVID-19 Lockdown.
“I will categorise the lessons into 2 groups majorly. The 1st lesson is that you have to be Globally compliant. When this thing first happened and they started saying Stay at home, stay safe, what we experienced was that where is home in Nigeria? Where is home? I think 12 years ago I first heard the concept of 1 Million Boys during Jonathan reign during fuel scarcity period. Then, there were the guys were going round and there was upheaval in town’.