The era of housing delivery just for the sake of it seems to be over in Nigeria with developers trying to align their delivery strategy with their clients’ thinking in their bid to increase the number of homes and boost sales of the houses.
The housing developers seemed to have hinged their thinking on the age-long economic principle that a producer does not produce what he prefers but what the consumers demand.
Among the numerous housing developers, Sparklight Property Development Company (SPDC), an affiliate of Sparklight Group appears to have been proactive.
The chief executive officer of SPDC, Chief Oluwatoyin Adeyinka , a civil engineer realised on time that the soaring price of cement despite the abundance of lime stone in the country cannot guarantee sustainable housing delivery and quickly adopted a strategy to fill the gap.
He said Sparklight pioneered the use of clay bricks in housing delivery in the country.
On the initiative he said,” We need to ask ourselves what percentage of the total material is sourced locally. There are other materials that we could use locally in place of cement-based materials. A good example is clay block. In fact , we are more endowed to use bricks than cement.
“God has given us bricks as product to use than cement. If we develop simple technology to produce bricks, then the use of factory blocks would reduce, if that is removed, there would be less pressure on cement.”
To reduce the housing deficit in Lagos and environs, Adeyinka blazed the trail to make Sparklight the first real estate firm to take advantage of the contiguous nature of Lagos and Ogun States in developing the first housing estate on the Lagos/Ibadan expressway axis.
“This estate, Sparklight (Lakeshore) was developed with a view to picking up the spill over population from Lagos state. We have also used all resources at our disposal, and continuously applied our engineering skills to develop affordable housing in a manner that would reduce cost, time while not compromising standard to meet the deficit we are all talking about.
“This has motivated us to diversify into the production of building materials such as burnt clay bricks, furniture and sand dredging in recent time.
“Lagos state is the 18th largest city in the world with an estimated population of over 11.0million, which is more than the population of some small African countries. Housing and Infrastructure development of course are very big challenges for the city.
“The public private partnership is a good way Lagos state can fast track her megacity objectives. Sparklight in her own little way has successfully partnered with government over the years in this respect. Igando multi-purpose market, Alade Shopping Mall, Gateway- Sparklight Estate, Isheri are some few examples of projects executed under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) concept. Partnering with serious indigenous developers could help Government achieve their political goals in spite of the down turn of the economy.
“Urbanisation of some of the slump in the cities is another way to support government’s goal by working with the property owners and government. We should be looking at developing the adjoining rural areas, and also explore the tremendous resources in these areas in a manner that will empower the rural dwellers.”
SDPC changed its tactics in Apo Shopping Mall by adopting another strategy known as Rent To Own.
Harping on this, the general manager sales and marketing, Mr Basil Akunana, said the Sparklight Apo Mall was being offered on rent to own basis.
He said the shop was about 202 shops comprising offices and shops, saying the cost was within what a beginner could afford.
“We are also looking on how to assist the buyers to get facility with the banks. We are discussing with Stallion Homes Savings and Loans to grant them loans. We have banks we work with that can fund the acquisition for would- be buyer.
“On the Rent To Own to be precise, this is a system we have adopted, whereby instead of you going hire a shop, you can be doing your business in the shop after payment of 20 per cent and we spread the other payment across a period of twelve months.
“The method is part of our affordability policy. If you know what shops go for in Abuja, you will know that the rate we are offering people is very low. The owners will not feel the pinch while paying and when they complete their payment the shop becomes their own.”
The rent to own initiative strategy is gradually becoming the new option being embraced by many housing developers and its currently being adopted by another real estate investment firm, Natanel Florens.
According to the firm’s executive director, Private Property Investors Trust (PPIT), Mr Yinka Daramola, the firm, which owns the franchise in Africa, its scheme also offers 80 per cent on property investment over five years, irrespective of the property investment portfolio.
This fresh initiative, he affirmed, would make it possible for Nigerians who wish to own a home without the mandatory equity deposit.
“The initiative is aimed at re-engineering the rent-to-own scheme which is yet to be fully entrenched in the country. Under the model, the company markets the properties to tenants, and subscribers benefit from the financing scheme whereby after 10 years payment.
“The property deeds go to the tenant without needing capital or upfront payments. All the tenant’s payments are made to the trust escrow account which then reimburses Bishopstrade.
“The initiative involves pairing property investment funds with potential home buyers. Natanel Florens targets consumers who are tenants and are able to pay rent but still want to own a roof over their heads. The company, which recently launched its services in the Lagos area, allows renters to lease to own a house, which is bought and paid for by investors and partners.”
With this and other initiatives he added that the firm plans to transform the Africa’s property landscape with the affordable solutions, as well as serve property owners who want to optimise their returns through its investment products.