By Ifeanyi Nwoko
PropTech, the infusion of technology solutions into acquisition, sale, and mortgage of properties has been identified as the solution to the myriad of challenges facing Nigeria’s real estate and housing industry,
A housing and real estate expert, Mr Babajide Odusolu, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in an interview in Abuja on Monday that PropTech has significant contributions to make in the future of Nigeria’s real estate.
According to him, technology has the capacity to propel the real estate and housing industry forward as a major driver of GDP growth for Nigeria once it is embraced by operators in the sector.
Odusolu, who is the Chief Executive of Octo5 Holdings, the owners of the popular technology-based Housing Application ‘STOW”, said that if technology could be properly deployed, the housing sector in the country would be transformed.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that at the just concluded Abuja International Housing Show (AIHS), Octo5 Holding was awarded as the best PropTech Company in Nigeria because of its STOW app.
NAN reports that the STOW app is a mobile and web-based digital marketplace which enables potential homeowners to acquire new-build and off plan homes in a secure manner with transparent flexible payment plans.
Speaking about the app as the kind of technology that should be deployed in the housing sector, he said: “Our goal is to enable economic freedom by helping people grow wealth through investments in homeownership.”
“STOW is a transparent, secure digital marketplace where certified real estate developers and potential homeowners can do business.
“Nigeria’s housing challenge which has been blamed on a variety of factors including lack of transparency, bureaucracy and archaic property registry practices can be mitigated and reduced by the digitisation processes enabled by STOW,” he said.
Odusolu said that the target for housing was a situation where people can pay as low as N20,000 per month, without any equity contribution to own their houses within an extended period.
According to him, prices can be driven down if the scale is increased, arguing that until houses can be built in their thousands, it would be difficult to drive prices down.
He said that with technology, Nigerians can begin to save towards owning houses.
“There are over 18m working Nigerians with monthly disposable incomes of at least N150,000 being money spent on non-core living expenses.
“Yet, the majority of this class of Nigerians neither own investment property nor personal homes.
“Most of them cannot afford to make upfront deposits of N5 million to N30 million for investments.
“But they can afford to acquire homes priced between 6m to 40m once allowed to make payments as low as 50,000 to 100,000 monthly towards such purchases,” he said.
He further stated that the goal of STOW is to meet the secured investment needs of Nigerians by empowering them to become property investors.
Also speaking on housing finance, a co-founder of the Nigerian PropTech Association and Lead Advisor PropCrowdy, Mr Roland Igbinoba, said that access to finance remained a challenge to housing.
Igbinoba said that many real estate developers have limited access to finance which in turn hampers the feasibility of affordable housing.
He said that with Property Technology solutions, such a PropCrowdy, a new crowdfunding solution to property development, Nigerian can easily own or invest in real estate.
He asserted that the combined effect of the STOW digital marketplace, PropCrowdy app and other digital solutions, will significantly aid in bridging Nigeria’s rising housing deficit.
For Mr Festus Adebayo, Convener of the Abuja International Housing Show, he said that the opportunities offered by technology toward addressing the challenges affecting the real estate industry are enormous.
“For the first time in the history of the AIHS we are devoting attention to PropTech solutions because we believe that technology will help the housing industry achieve its full potential and remove encumbrances that limit Nigerians from owning property,” Adebayo said. (NAN)