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Olayinka Braimoh

NIGERIA - Real Estate & Construction

Expectations for strong real estate market in 2018

CEO, Hall7

Bio

Olayinka Braimoh is the founder and CEO of Hall7. He has an MBA from Business School Netherlands.

"Lagos is about 37% of the market, Abuja is 22%, Port Harcourt 6%, and the rest of Nigeria is about the last 35%."

Can you tell us about Hall7’s main operations since its establishment?

Hall7 was established in 2013 and started business in January 2014. Our vision is to create diversified real estate developments that deliver value to stakeholders. Our stakeholders here are our clients, the vendors, and we design and develop projects that deliver value to these stakeholders. We mainly service the medium- to high-end real estate segments. Among our projects is the Brook Shore Residence with about 230 units. This project commenced in January 2014 and will be commissioned by December 2017. There are basketball courts, a mini golf course, a swimming pool, and a skate park. We also have another residential development, The Bridge, which we launched in May 2016. It is more contemporary in terms of design and is based on three principles: making money, saving money, and growing business. The value of the property will appreciate, making it an asset as well. Our projects are designed to satisfy critical areas of value addition.

What can you share about the housing project you are developing with NNPC?

Imperial Vista is a 216-unit development in the Kafe district and will feature unique architecture. We signed the project with NNPC to develop part of the project for its staff while the other half will be open to investors. There we will be a mini waterpark and it will be designed like a mini smart city. It will feature controls for all housing appliances, with automation and access, as well as smart TVs and more. We will light up the streets in a way that makes everyday look like it is a celebration.

What is your strategy to be ahead of the competition?

Our focus is never on our competition; our focus is our customers. For all our developments we look at dominating the market and becoming a market leader to dictate the pace and direction of development. We focus on what creates the most value for our customers. The strategy is quite simple; we must use our vision to dictate the market and not succumb to the market, thereby creating the demand within the market. One of the key things about our developments is that they are smart; we are developing smart developments that respond to a user’s presence.

Do you have any expansion plans and where do you want to be in two years’ time?

We will enter the Lagos market, which we have started planning toward. This is after the commissioning of the Abuja projects. In two years, we want to have completed all our current projects. This includes Brookshore Residence, The BridgePeridot, The Bridge Garnet, and Imperial Vista. In two years, we want to be established in the Lagos market. Once we deliver those projects we can focus on the Lagos market. The market is fairly huge and still open.

How would you assess the real estate market today in Nigeria and what trends do you observe?

Lagos is about 37% of the market, Abuja is 22%, Port Harcourt 6%, and the rest of Nigeria is about the last 35%. The Lagos market is obviously the largest market, while Abuja is the size that it is because it is the capital. There are many people willing to invest in the capital; this drives the market in Abuja. However, in Lagos there is a high level of private-sector activity. There are many foreign companies coming in and a high level of developments going on, as well as businesses that are not dependent on the government. The structure of title documents is solid in Lagos and Abuja, though the protocol is a little complicated in Port Harcourt. The titles department of the state government needs to look into this and work more on the title structure to make it easier for people to receive certificates of occupancy that would encourage developments in Port Harcourt. The market will eventually pick up.

What trends do you observe in terms of activity in the sector and how would you define doing business in real estate?

It is an interesting sector and the risk can be high at times. For example, in the last 10 years there were times when prices went up over 100% because of inflation in the sector. In our sector within the last 18 months we have seen the price of cement increase over 100%. The price of reinforcement has also increased over 100%. All these negatively affect the business. However, somehow we are able to find our way and forge ahead. What drives us is our vision, which sustains us in the midst of challenges that are meant to be overcome. The real estate market in Nigeria is growing; the housing segment that sees the greatest demand is low income. The market is promising and growing.

What do you expect from 2018?

2018 will be an election preparation year and we look forward to a better year. We hope there will be greater liquidity in the system and more flows. Our expectation is for 2018 to be much better than 2017. We are introducing new developments into the market, and with all the policies that are put in place currently we will have a more vibrant economy moving forward. The last few years have been challenging and we are optimistic about the future. If we managed to last 24 months, we can face the next year. If a company can do business in Nigeria it can do business anywhere in the world.

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