Nigeria is in dire need of infrastructure, particularly roads. Perhaps, if Nigeria had good roads network and electricity, our economy would grow at a break neck speed far beyond the 6.5 percent growth figure authorities put out.
In Lagos, there has been concerted efforts by the state government to provide road infrastructure in most parts of the state, particularly the high traffic routes like Lekki, Ikorodu road and Badagary.
While the Lekki-Epe road has been significantly done, the Ikorodu and Badagry roads are still being done. Remote areas in Ikorodu such as Imota, Ijede, Ofin, Igbogbo, Bayeku, Adaman, Agric with several suburbs like Agbede, Isawo, Igbo-olomu, Oke-muti, Ita-oluwo some of which share borders with Ogun State lack good link road.
While Lagos residents should be excited by these new roads that would make commuting a lot easier for them, landlords and land owners are cashing in on these developments to charge excessive amounts on property and land.
Checks by our correspondents show that cost of rent, property and parcels of land have gone up between 50 and 200 percent since these projects commenced.
For instance, tenants in Ikorodu axis of Lagos State are currently groaning in pain with what they described as astronomical increases in rent charged by the landlords.
Ikorodu as one of the developing areas in the state serves as succour to low income earners and middlemen for their shelter needs where they rent houses at affordable prices.
Scores of residents who spoke with Daily Trust attributed high cost of property to the ongoing construction of the 13.5km Mile 12 Ikorodu road expansion project.
Long before expansion of the road which according to the latest report from the state government, the major demand of millions of residents of Ikorodu is the reconstruction of the road to respond to the population explosion along that corridor.
Value of property in Ikorodu has been on the high side since the state government awarded the expansion of the 50-year-old road project of N29 billion contract to the Chinese Civil Engineering and Construction Corporation (CCECC) with a World Bank facility in 2012.
A parcel of land selling between N300,000 and N500,00 before is now going for between N800,000 and N1million while house rent of a two-bedroom flat which used to be N100,000 to N120,000 is now N200,000 to N250,000. A three-bedroom house before now was going for between N200,000 and N250,000 but is now between N350,000 and N400,000 per annum.
Also, prices of rented shops have increased from N5,000 to N10,000 and above per month. Shops in some newly built shopping complexes around Ikorodu now go for as much as N30,000 per month in which money is collected on annual basis including the agents’ fees.
One of the residents, Mr. Bayo Adejumo who lamented the rate at which house rents are on the increase said the most annoying part is that most houses are built with low quality materials which pose danger to occupants.
According to him, many landlords use substandard materials for building houses for commercial use with the notion that they are not going to live there themselves.
One of the landowners in Igbo-olomu, Kabiru Abajigi, popularly known as Emesi said property will still go higher. According to him, the Mile-12 Ikorodu road expansion contributed to the rise in property value.
He said, “Everybody knows that property appreciate on daily basis whether road is being constructed or not. So, people should get to know, as a fact, that if a government project comes, it will add value to property.”
Another landlord, Alhaji Lasisi Fatokun who specialises in building commercial houses told our reporter that hike in rent is due to many factors. He said prices of building materials are also rising everyday and nobody is talking about that.
Fatokun explained Dangote announced reduction in cement price to N1,000 but “I tell you that nowhere in Nigeria is Dangote cement is sold for less than N1,500. You can check everywhere.”
He said labour fee is also high while other building materials such as sand, nails planks, plumbing materials, electrical equipment are all more expensive now than before.
Fatokun noted that building houses in Lagos entails so many things compared to other states in the country because a tipper load of sharp sand in Ogun State is N9,000 but it is between N18,000 and N20,000 depending on the area in Lagos.
He said the issue of landowners settlement known as omo-onile is there. This means after buying a piece of lands, several people are for settlement at every stage of construction.
The story is no different at the Badagry axis. On this corridor, in anticipation of an upgrade of the Mile 2-Badagry expressway, many Lagosians are now struggling to own at least a property on that axis.
This anticipation has pushed house rent far above “the roof top.” Investigations revealed that a two-bedroom flat that goes for between N70,000 and N80,000 per annum about four years ago now goes for between N200,000 and N300,000 while a one-bedroom which was for about N50,000 yearly is presently N120,000 and N150,000.
Similarly, a plot of land at Ijanikin, Morogbo and Ojoafon which was sold for N150,000 and N200,000 is now as high as over N1 million. This also depends on if the land in question is dry or swampy.
The investigations show that majority of those who now struggle to own a property within the Badagry axis are mainly the Igbos.
Emeka Onyedika told this paper that the reconstruction of the Mike 2-Badagry expressway coupled with the proximity of the area to markets like the Alaba International Market, Trade Fair or ASPANDA market also account for the movement of people, particularly those from east of the country to the area.
“People are building to free themselves from the shackles of landlords who now increase their house rent yearly” he said.
He noted that many people want decent houses for themselves, adding that the only place where one can find such accommodation that is within the reach of the common man is at places like Isashi, Alasia, Ijanikin, Morogbo, Okoafon and Mowe, all located on the Badagry expressway.
Experts say Nigerian property market will continue to react in this manner because the market isn’t structured. A private property developer in Lagos, Mr. Joseph Aluwole told our correspondent that if the Nigerian mortgage market was well developed, new infrastructure provision like new access roads wouldn’t have effect on property prices.
“What are the fundamentals in pricing property in Nigeria? At best, some landlord or developer would just wake up and fix whatever cost to a property or land as it suits them. Which is why property in Ikorodu and Badary would go up following the new roads being constructed,” he said.
He however noted that infrastructure availability impacts on the value of property globally but the magnitude of property value appreciation in Nigeria is rather not supported by any market reality.
He thus called on the federal government and the Central Bank of Nigeria to work hard on introducing policies that would grow the mortgage sector so that more large scale developers can develop mass housing for Nigerians adding that when this occurs, there would be minimal impact on the value of property even in the face of new infrastructure.
Source: Daily Trust