There are several factors and considerations that determine where people buy properties from. Just like every human endeavor, location is a key factor that determines the price of a product and the possibility or otherwise of making profit. Conventional wisdom demands that One invests or buys a property from an area that Is already developed or near the city center. A plot of land or a property in such areas are usually very expensive. I was somewhere in Ikeja some time ago and I was told the asking price for a plot of land there was in the neighborhood of two hundred and forty Million-naira i.e. almost a million pounds! I think this experience made me to ask in one of my essays whether the prevailing price of real estate in Nigeria is sustainable.
One does not begrudge anybody who spends his hard-earned money anyway s/he wants by preferring to buy a property in a so-called posh area or near a bubbling commercial center. My take is that some of the places we call 'town' or 'city' were once bushes or villages. It probably took a government policy, the location of a government institution, a school or a public infrastructure to transform a village to a city. Envision the now Federal Capital Territory (Abuja). Thirty years ago, that place was a typical village. Fast forward to 2014, Abuja is now a mega city for the creme de la creme of our society.
In Lagos state, Lekki axis was renowned for its swampy soil but it seems that is where the action is now. With the proposed Free Trade Zone, Airport etc. been cited in the Ibeju-Lekki-Epe axis, you must have a deep pocket to buy a plot of land around that area now. This reminds me of a story I heard which suffices: some land owners sold some acres of very swampy land to somebody thinking they got a good deal since in their estimation, the land was 'useless'. Several years later, the person that bought the land was able to sand fill it and started developing the place. Guess what happened? The original land owners started making trouble with this man when they discovered that the place, they gave away for fifty thousand naira per plot is now worth about ten million naira per plot. The original land owners saw their land as useless but the person that acquired it saw what they could not see. That is the power of foresightedness. One is amazed at the astuteness, foresightedness of the likes of Chief Odumegwu Ojukwu (Snr), Thomas Odukoya (Eleganza) considering the choice properties, plots of land they amassed in and outside Lagos State.
In most advanced countries, house prices, real estate are generally more expensive in the suburbs than in the cities. This is because even the so-called village boasts of all the essential amenities available in the city. There is no price tag on the serenity that the suburbs offer. However, the reverse is the case in Nigeria.
The purpose of this essay is to provoke you to think outside the box while buying a real estate. The same place they say is a swamp, a village etc. has the potential to be a mega city tomorrow.
Don Okereke, Consultant, NigeriaPropertyCentre.com.