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The boom being experienced by the real estate market in the country has caught the entrepreneurial instinct of a new generation of developers who aim to bridge the country’s huge housing deficit and provide homes for middle income earners. Martins Azuwike reports

In Nigeria, all segments of the real estate market are brimful with activities that are being creatively fused to abridge huge housing deficits and meet the homes needs of the country’s growing middle class. Whether in the Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt markets usually referred to as the ALP triangle by market analysts, or in the loop within the triangle defined by the major cities in the six geopolitical zones of the country, the tempo of the market remains bubbly and splendid.

The attractions of the bustling market have not only contributed to the changing skyline of capital cities of most of the states but also seen the emergence of a new generation of professionals who are speedily shifting attention from their core careers to harness the luscious opportunities that dot the real estate horizon. Most of them in the 30-45 age bracket are moving away from such fields as medicine, engineering and business administration to play big in the new-found market.

One of them is Ibukun Adebayo, a qualified Medical Doctor, whose stethoscope now seems to play a secondary role in the scheme of things since she discovered the honeypot in the real estate market. With her Rock Realty Limited, she is neck-deep in the new market, offering top-quality homes in estates in choice locations, collaborating with the Nigerians In Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) to pull in investors back home, and redefining the mode of accommodation in the country’s tertiary institutions of learning.

Her interest in real estate business springs from concerns about middle income earners many of whom had been locked up in the rental cycle for lack of access to mortgage and other credit facilities to help them to acquire homes.

She recently told Pleasures, a publication that targets top-end-of-market brands and high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs): “The motivation for Rock Realty is a pinpoint for middle income earners who in other climes, naturally, would be able to get homes because they have good jobs, they get into the mortgage system and they get homes. In Nigeria, they earn well, they are not poor, they eat well, they holiday well, they earn good quantum monthly, but they do not earn in tens of millions, so, they are not able to get homes. So, they get locked in the rental cycle for so long. I experienced that. I had good jobs but I really could not get a home until I became an entrepreneur.

“So, the pen portrait for Rock Royalty Limited is that our core focus initially is around the middle income suite. What we do is that for all our projects, we focus on working with the middle income group to use use mortgages, which is a blend of the Federal Mortgage Bank mortgages and the regular mortgages for them to see that as their low-hanging fruit into getting homes and we structure all our projects around them. So, Rock Realty Limited is a middle income focused middle income real estate company.”

Another entrepreneur that is pushing to further dilate the curves of the real estate market is Jide Odusolu, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Octo5 Holdings Limited, a firm that aims to address a big need in the market. Addressing the unmet demand for affordable homes with standardized levels of livability, which reflects and encourages harmony with the environment in which they were established, supported with flexible terms of acquisition, and assurances of good /inflation-proof returns for investors are the key operating mantra of Octo5 remain his motivating factors.

Established among the leading players in the market, Octo5 Holdings brings affordable and middle-income developments to market and nurtures them into inclusive fully occupied communities. They are project managers and developers. So, Octo5 Holdings ensures that their unmatched standards of high-quality architecture, materials, and finishing, in league with flawlessly landscaped surroundings, are reflected in every project. It is this unwavering attention to detail which sets the company apart and makes it the development company of choice for home buyers.

This blends with the company’s underlying philosophy to use real estate as a tool for economic emancipation and strong belief that as more Nigerians become real investors in the Nigerian economy, the system will of necessity become better. That vision, Octo5 Holdings maintains, is what has propelled it to date.

The name Octo5, was derived from the imagery of the Octopus (with its several tentacles), while the Five represents the company’s five-core business focus areas defined by residential and commercial developments, construction, utilities management, and technology solutions.

Charles Nwakanma Chukwuemeka, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Tent Group Limited, says his company is in the market with passion and excellence to make a significant difference, set higher standards, and deliver smart homes. So, what’s he bringing to the market? Chukwuemeka says he has a variety of smart homes on offer that are energy and gas efficient; thermal homes where you do not have so much heat. The company adds that the experience in smart homes feels like you coming in and seeing virtually everything. “They are almost like walking in with your clothes, and every other thing is available for you. Prospective clients in the real estate market come with a variety of needs, tastes, and expectations. This, the company has fully analyzed and accommodated in its overall delivery and solutions strategies to satisfy its valued clients,” he said.

Clients’ desires and specifications have prodded Tent Group to focus on offering all building types that match their tastes and expectations, from one-bedroom flats, 2-bedroom flats, 3-bedroom flats to 4-bedroom flats. The company also has semi-detached duplexes. The uniqueness of the offers being brought to the market has also seen Tent Group giving its off takers what it calls mortgage protection, which to them, remains unprecedented in the industry, and is not accessible by other real estate companies. Tent Group adds: “It is a one-of-its-kind feature in the market.

“We brought this in to protect our clients and off takers from shocks and uncertainties arising from job losses, accidents, sicknesses that may render them incapable of building. In such cases, the insurance companies will come in and complete his building for him under this our offering. That is one of the things we are providing free of charge. We pay the premium on behalf of the off takers.”

There are elegant packages for Nigerians in Diaspora. The company says it has developed a big-boned thought process put together from conceptualization to initiating projects to meet the needs of Nigerians in Diaspora, knowing that the types of housing concepts in the UK, US and other climates are not available here. Following this, the company tailors the process in such a way that when it talks with clients as Diasporans they have the opportunity to explicitly say what they want.

Chukwuemeka said: “We have a platform where you register. You tell us the type of house you want. We would design it from the conceptualization of the building to meet your need, and we would build it for you. You would be able to monitor the building from day one to the end of the project because when we initiate the project, we also plan it for you, we execute it for you, and finish it for you.

These are the processes we have put in place. It gives Nigerians in Diaspora a lot of confidence. You know that some of them have confidants like uncles, aunties, brothers and sisters to whom they had sent money in the past but the houses were not delivered. We have also made it comfortable and convenient for them because they are not paying 100 per cent of the project cost. So, from the time they pay as low as 10 per cent or 20 per cent of the cost, we start building for them.

For our Diasporans who are willing to come back to Nigeria, we have what we call rent-to-own. We can also build for you using our money. You come back and rent, and when you rent, you are actually paying for your house. So we know it will take you 5 years or 10 years, as the case may be, to finish paying for the building. These are some of the packages that we have provided, especially for Diaspora Nigerians.

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