A huge number of palatial but unoccupied houses are all over Abuja. Advertisements abound in both print and electronic media beckoning to off-takers. Pamphlets showing beautiful drawings of houses are circulated calling for property buyers. But not many buyers. Property owners are now anxiously waiting for newcomers in the next administration especially National Assembly members to market their products.
Why many houses?
It is said that some people put their property for sale because they did not know where the country was going. The huge interests that surrounded the general elections coupled with predictions that Nigeria might break, made property owners ready to part with what they had.
Generally, undeveloped plots and houses are always for sale in Abuja. But investigations have shown that the number has astronomically risen in the recent past. It is difficult to get figures but it is said that more property have been placed for sale in the last few years. Last year, a whole district was set aside by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) for housing project. Similarly, many housing estates were commissioned last year. The Federal Ministry of Housing announced that 16,000 housing units have been added to the housing stock. Abuja takes a huge chunk of this.
Hajiya Salima Makama CEO of Shelter Plus Nigeria Limited, a company that does real estate development and legal advisor of the Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN) said it is true that when new legislators come in town, many property prices soar. She however observed that things might not be as rosy as they always be because of the general turn in the economy. She noted that even as political leaders may take property in Abuja, property owners may not smile because the politicians’ demands cannot match the number of property in the market.
Barr. Festus Adebayo, CEO of Fesadeb Communications Limited, a property sales promoter in Abuja acknowledged increase in the number of property in the market especially in the last three to four years. He attributed this to arrival of new developers in the market who build as many as 500 housing units at a time.
He noted that many houses will remain without buyers because Nigerians have lost purchasing power. This he attributed to bad economy wrought by poor governance.
“What’s the purchasing power of Nigerians? We’re told Nigeria is the largest economy but people want to eat first. Cost of houses has gone up beyond control because of the devaluation of the naira. It has affected cost of houses,” Adebayo observed, adding that only those in the corridors of power, who are few can afford the houses.
“The dream of affordable housing has failed to come to reality. How many Nigerians can drop 10 percent of a N14 million house?” he queried.
Ben Agarry, proprietor of Crown Properties agreed that there has been rise in property sale bid. He described the thing in multiple angles: Some people were suppressed to give allocations to some privileged individuals. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been in power for many years and many benefited from its generous land giving scheme. Some people in power used their advantageous positions to acquire what they own. In the process, government stepped on many toes. Because of this it is generally felt that there is going to be probe of allocations by the coming government.
“With new government to come, they want to quickly dispose the properties so they are off the hook,” Agarry explained.
But he expressed hope that with the coming of new legislators, ministers and their aides, demand for property will soar again.
Mr Emmanuel Alao, Abuja branch chairman of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) acknowledged that there are quite many houses in the market.
He said this trend started in the build up to campaigns for the 2015 general elections. Many needed cash to veer onto the political turf.

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