In the light of rising housing deficit, developers – both private and public – in varying capacities are responding to this enigma ravaging the housing industry. Their responses are evidenced by various ongoing developments scattered across the country. Some projects tap into existing gaps in the real estate market while, others create new markets. Regardless of the capacity and market being operated, it is pertinent to understand that such developments are meant for living individuals seeking to satisfy their most important need in life after food and clothing. Therefore, quality should be of high priority.

Real estate investments in Nigeria have overtime been described as possessing good economic risk-hedging characteristics providing an aggregate turn over performance than most alternative investments. Initial perception paraded by certain players in the property market in Nigeria, especially in major cities was that property prices and demand for properties will always be on the increase. However, the recent economic crunch has proven otherwise exposing a lot of uninformed decisions which were weighed and found wanting.

It is, therefore, a non-debatable fact that while housing deficit is on the geometric increase; this cannot be a singular justification for committing borrowed funds, surplus profit, hard-earned savings into property development and investments. Caution has to be taken in order not to be enlisted among those who got their fingers burnt. Case in point, a drive around Lagos especially on the island reveals abandoned building projects, long period of voids in new development, incomplete schemes et cetera. So many investors have entered into pre-sale arrangements which never saw the light of day while some developments were already functionally and economically obsolete before getting into the market.

Considering the huge amount that is committed into real estate investments and the level of risks associated therewith, the need for an appreciable level of certainty cannot be over-emphasised. This means you should never gamble with your investment. To be a good investor, never tie emotions to your investments. The two are mutually exclusive. Premising your investment decisions on seminars that are too good to be true, engaging non professionals or professionals who lack integrity and necessary expertise are few examples of ways investors gamble with their money. This means counting the cost which leads to a comprehensive feasibility and viability studies.

This cost includes site cost, design cost, economic cost, technology cost, legal cost, environmental/neighbourhood cost. The opportunity cost of the capital has to be considered. In addition, it is highly imperative for you to ask yourself if the proposed action will make any economic sense; consider probable market interpretation and responses. Every property investment idea must target a specific need and not a generalised need.

Therefore, good hands-on experience not book experience cannot be negotiated to be able to interprete market trends. Having information is one thing, being able to perfectly analyse and interprete same require experience.Some investors (developers, finance houses, individuals) have ignored the importance of comprehensively counting the cost because they want to save money. We have heard the adage; Penny Wise, Pound Foolish. Counting the cost will definitely expose the risks associated with the proposed development and save you a whole lot of sleepless nights by the right strategies to combat same.

Furthermore, due to a plethora of ever-evolving market dynamics affecting property investments, there is the need to periodically review (during the execution of the project) employed parameters which have positively justified the execution of the proposed investment. This helps in setting up response strategies in the case of any likely variance due to externalities. Sometimes, there might be the need to adjust designs, slow down or increase the rate of work depending on events in the economy.

Considering the heterogeneity attribute of property investments, there is the need to be guided into making right investments decisions. No amount of time can be wasted making sure your decision is right. The cost of making an informed decision cannot be compared to the cost of making an uninformed decision. You would have saved millions which would rather have been lost to uninformed decision. If you are thinking of any form of property investment, count the cost and do not let yourself be counted amongst those who got their fingers burnt. Don’t waste that hard earned money by gambling rather invest by first counting the cost.

OSAGIE ALFRED, Advisory Group, Propertygate Development and Investment Plc, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

When the Lagos State tenancy law came into effect around mid last year, it was greeted with mixed reactions. A notable provision of the law made it illegal in the State except in exempted areas to collect more than a year’s rent from a new tenant in advance. Almost a year of coming into effect, the one year rent rule appears to be making positive impact.

The quality of living is strongly influenced by the environment a person resides in. In assessing quality living, standard of housing and supporting infrastructure are major issues for consideration. For this reason, real estate located in areas with functional and reasonably adequate infrastructure that support stress-free everyday living not onl attract high demand, but in addition, commands good value. This explains the attraction for places like Ikoyi, Victoria Island, Ikeja G.R.A, Opebi, Ilupeju and part of Lekki Peninsula among other sought-after locations in Lagos. Similar benefit accrues to comparable places in other parts of the country. These areas continue to enjoy significantly impressive capital and rental value, as pressure on them continues to mount due to increased demand.

It is public knowledge that our successive government at various levels continue to fail in meeting people’s expectations in the provision of basic infrastructure across the country. It is therefore not a surprise that living quality is generally poor. The inequitable trend that has been observed however over the years till date is that whenever government endeavor to provide / improve public infrastructure, their bias is overwhelmingly in favor of high brow neighborhoods. These neighborhoods are far well off in terms of road transportation, power, water, access to commercial centres among others. This discriminatory treatment heightens demand for these areas, making them very valuable, while the rest of the society (substantial majority) are left to deal with non-existent or badly declining infrastructure.

The new 150m Falomo-Ozumba link bridge built by the Lekki Concession Company was commissioned on the 5th October, 2011at a cost of N2.5 billion, specifically to reduce the torture of Ikoyi bound traffic crawling through Adeyemo Alakija. Motorists now climb unto the bridge from Ozumba Mbadiwe. In some quarter, the bridge further illuminates the commitment of the Fashola Government towards infrastructural developement within the state, but for others, it has done little to ease the pain. The bridge meant to ease traffic of Falomo bound motorists from Ozumba actually serves its purpose but without creating more problems for Falomo bound motorists from Akin Adesola. A practical case of "robbing Peter to pay Paul". A solution to this may be to adjust the setting of the traffic light on the bridge such that longer time is allocated to the Akin Adesola motorists.

The first part of this article painted a picture of the origins of the Lekki-Epe road project and the objectives of the parties involved in the scheme. It went ahead to discuss from a historic point of view the success and downfall of the toll-road strategy in Nigeria, the same now being adopted by LCC in the Lekki-Epe project. This concluding bit adopts a first principle approach to evaluate the recent dispute between Lagosians and the combined duo of LCC and the State Government.

Recently, the Lagos State government chose to adopt a globally renowned strategy but nouvelle in the Nigerian context, of partnering with private investors to provide road infrastructure within the State.Prior to this time however, the constant worry of past administrations had been the enormity of costs (running into trillions of Naira) needed to cater for the infrastructure deficit in the state. The out-of-the-box solution was to initiate a public-private partnership to end the miseries of the government and spawn a smart way forward. This solution birthed the Lekki Concession Company (LCC), an initiative of the ARM group of companies.