Lagos luxury property. “No matter how bad their economy is, they go”

Just on the other side of the water The shocking continent of Lagos, where most of the megacity’s 20 million people live in shantytowns, real estate developers are selling millions of dollars worth of luxury apartments on Banana Island made of gold, silver and cream.

“What we’re selling is quality,” said Sigibomi Ogundelle, the 42-year-old CEO of Sujimoto Real Estate, shaking hands around an apartment in the Giuliano di Medici apartment building. He points to the bathroom, here is the bathroom designed by Hadid in the bathroom. “This design is one of the most expensive in the world.”

Ogundelle is part of a luxury property boom in Africa’s largest city, which has failed even as Nigeria’s wider economy has experienced rising inflation, slow growth and high unemployment.

The driving force is the super-rich Nigerians, who are looking for a place to save their money in an economy where the central bank has devalued the naira by more than a third against the dollar over the past year.

“We have a niche market. “One percent one percent,” Ogundelle said. “They are not many, their number is not increasing. ,,[but] “These people will buy, no matter how bad the economy is.”

The view from Giuliano’s balcony, which runs through an empty space full of building materials, a pair of lazy, big horned bulls, is more of a residential area built by Sujimoto.

Lucrezia, located in an underwater 14-story luxury building that will start at $ 1.9 million, has a private Imax cinema. Nearby is Leonardo, a 25-storey complex with 22 swimming pools and a “virtual indoor golf bar”.

“People at Covid. “They were not spending money because they were traveling, they were not shopping, they were not doing anything, so I think they felt rich,” said Andrea Geday, CEO of El-Alan, a 25-story 4 Bourdillon development partner. The tallest residential building in West Africa. “And the devaluation of the naira was a factor, because they needed to raise funds somewhere, the only way was to buy property.”

From the 21st floor apartment in Bordeaux, Gede, it is clear that the construction boom of Nigeria’s richest and most unique neighborhood, Iko.

Not only are half a dozen towers rising, including one right next door, but dozens of smaller projects, including the development of four-story apartment buildings or dozens of townhouses that cut cookies.

The magnificent towers cater to Nigeria’s extremely wealthy, estimated by Knight Frank at around 200,000 or 300,000, for whom money is not an issue, who have second homes in London, Dubai, New York or Miami.

Some analysts question who will live on all this new property, especially given the many housing estates in the Lekki ևko neighborhoods, which are only 30 or 40 percent of the capacity.

The answer is that it may not really matter, given how useful real estate is as a money laundering service, said Timothy Nuby, a professor of real estate management at the University of Lagos.

“There is a school of thought, which is a way to keep capital by people who do not have the opportunity to transfer their money abroad or put their money in a bank. They just put their money in the property. “They hope they will be able to sell it in years to come,” Nubin said.

“It simply came to our notice then. You walk through Ikoyi և you will see the whole left side of the street [with buildings] they are empty. “

Abdul Rashid Bawan, head of Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, told Chan Chan TV this week that “90 to 100 percent” of money laundering was done through real estate.

At the Lucrezia sales office, Ogundelle said he had heard about money laundering as part of a real estate game in Nigeria, but he had never tried it. “And all the same, there is no money to steal now.” he joked about the difficult state of the economy.

Given the huge disparities in Lagos և Nigeria’s wealth և opportunities, Nubi said the government should focus on investing in affordable housing in a city of about 2.5 million people, with two-thirds of its residents living in slums. , according to UN estimates. “We have a problem with inconsistencies in the Nigerian property market,” he said. “What comes to market is not really what people need.”

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