Rising Number of Vacant Houses In Ikoyi Raises Concerns


There is increasing concern over the rising number of vacant houses in the highbrow Ikoyi area of Lagos with a report estimating over 70 per cent of properties therein. What could be responsible for this? Why are the properties being abandoned? 

A real estate developer and Chief Executive Officer of Sujimoto Construction, Mr. Sijibomi Ogundele, said the rise in the number of empty apartments in Ikoyi over the last few years was worrisome.

He noted that the development was a reminder to the economic recession being   experienced in the country’s Real Estate Industry.

He said: “As an avid property enthusiast, developer or an observer, you must have noticed the surge in the number of empty apartments in Ikoyi over the last few years.
“This disturbing phenomenon must have prompted the well-informed and educative research publication of the Economy Watch by the Financial Derivatives Company Limited, recently, that says that the number of vacant properties in the upper class real estate neighbourhoods of Lekki, Victoria Island and Ikoyi has risen by 72 percent over the last 18 months.”
He said a developer, who compromised on the quality of materials, no matter how highbrow the property’s location, has no right to place an exorbitant price on it.
He was also of the view that the argument for demand exceeding supply regarding empty apartments in Ikoyi  was unfounded.
Luxury apartments, he said, were in high demand, but that poorly finished buildings with exorbitant prices constituted the pile of empty apartments constantly being alluded to.
“During my interview on CNBC Africa, I once pointed out that luxury is not expensive. It is the intention to deliver luxury that is expensive. While the cost of a nice three bedroom apartment in Johannesburg would go for about $350,000, the same apartment in Ikoyi would want $1 million. If the cost of construction materials is the same all over the world, the price of marble, granite, cement, tiles, kitchen, doors paints etc, why is cost in Nigeria about 300% higher?
“‘Luxury sells itself.  When you sell luxury, you sell peace of mind, you have not only sold something that would last for generations, but you win the heart of your client who now becomes your evangelist,”he said.
Ogundele stated further that with the oil price plummet and downtrend of major economies across the world, individuals and organizations no longer have free  money to throw around.
“And with the current downsizing by companies, prospective tenants demand full value for their hard-earned money. Developers must realise that times have changed and that the ‘quick fix – quick gain’ syndrome has ended.”
Ogundele added, “If we desire to be the best and want to compete with foreign developers such as the Germans, Lebanese and Italians that have spent decades mastering their craft, we will need to raise our standards in the Nigerian construction market,  or else, one day, we would wake up to find all our apartments empty.”
On his part,  Bldr  Kunle  Awobodu, 2nd  deputy vice president of the Nigeria Institute of Building (NIOB),  said the situation could be attributed to the power  of demand and supply.
Awobodu who was the former  NIOB Lagos chapter  chairman,  noted  that every  human aspires to live in decent  environment but the fact that some landlords within Ikoyi neighbourhood demand hard currency which could  be easy for foreigners but difficult for Nigerians,  can   be alluded  to the declining number of occupants of houses in Ikoyi .
“Some foreigners prefer to stay in Ikoyi because they can afford to pay for the houses. But some of these houses still remain unoccupied   due to high cost usually attributed to the construction cost involved,” he said.
Speaking in a similar vein, a  development analyst, Victor Olapojoye,  argued  that there  was no shortage of luxury housing in  Victoria Island and Ikoyi but they remained unoccupied  because their rent-out- prices are  out of  the reach of all but the  wealthy.
He said: “It is not everybody that will own a home, but that should not preclude them from having access to decent and affordable rental housing.”
Jason Njokualso,  a  real estate enthusiast, expressed similar view, saying prices of properties in Ikoyi are simply absurd compared to other modern cities in Africa.
“Lagos property prices are simply absurd. There is obviously something else driving the prices up. In South Africa there are the largest banks in Africa. I believe the Standard Bank market cap is larger than the entire Nigerian banking system. With the most structured banking system, there is huge liquidity in the system too, so getting credit in SA is not a problem. Mortgages are common and in abundance.
In Nigeria, it is the complete opposite. There is no real credit system here. The banks simply refuse to extend it,” he said.
Source: DailyTrust

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Four rules for making good first impressions


We’ve all heard the old sayings, like “You never have a second chance to make a good first impression,” and “First impressions are lasting impressions.” Well, they’re true. A 1980 study by Nisbett & Ross found that all it can take is a single, brief encounter for people to form a virtually unshakeable opinion of you – even when later evidence overwhelmingly tells them that they are mistaken. So, whether you are in the customer service, business, sales, management, or just looking to make new friends, knowing the art of making good first impressions is essential. There are, of course, many different ways to ensure you are making a good first impression, but here are the four most important:

Smile – You’ve heard it a million times, and it’s worth repeating once again. There is nothing that sends a positive message to another person faster than a warm, genuine smile. People can even hear a smile over the telephone. A study by Willis and Todorov, of Princeton University identified that we begin to form judgements of people after just a 100-millisecond exposure to a facial expression. That’s 1/10th of one second! So, people aren’t seeing a smile when you first meet them, you’re in for an uphill battle.

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Make Eye Contact – You’ve probably only heard this one only a half-a-million times, but it’s critical. Don’t just look at someone’s eyes – look into them. Make a connection. Let him know that, for this instant, he is the most important people in your life. You don’t have to stare, of course, but count two full seconds before you break contact.

Use Names – If you’re like most people, within two minutes of being introduced to people, you’ve forgotten their names. Make a point to memorize them, and use the name at least twice during the first five minutes. Not only will it help you remember it, but it will send the message to people that they are important to you.
Be Interested In The Other Person – Resist the temptation to talk about yourself and the things that interest you. Make a point to learn about the things that interest your new acquaintance, and show that you are interested in them as well. There are a lot of other little things to ensuring a positive first impression, but if you don’t have these first four going for you, you don’t stand a chance!

Zuckerberg: Learning key to technology growth-@yaba- fmisconnect.com


The Founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, has urged Information Technology (IT) entrepreneurs to focus on learning at all giving opportunities.

Zuckerberg said this during the live video streaming of his meeting with developers and entrepreneurs in Lagos on Wednesday.

He said that being focused on learning would help the entrepreneurs to know new things that would enable their businesses to succeed and grow.

According to him, learning is the process whereby one tries something and fails, but is able to make headway.
“You should not be afraid of failure, but you fall and learn from it. You make success when you make mistakes,’’ he said.

Zuckerberg said that constantly willing to learn had made Facebook to succeed as the platform and had given people the power to stay connected, wherever they were.

He said that to connect with people across the globe entailed having access to the internet.

According to him, building infrastructure is essential to have access to the internet and remain connected with the rest of the world.

“If we build infrastructure, anywhere we are in the world, we will have access to the internet and stay connected.

“To make people have access to the internet, it has to be affordable, so that everyone can get it and remain connected.

“For people to get connected, they have to understand why the internet is valuable to them. We need to spread the awareness of the need for the internet to make the world a better place,” he said.

Zuckerberg said that it was the wish of Facebook that by 10 to 15 years, everyone across the globe would be connected.

The Facebook CEO is currently in Lagos, Nigeria, to meet with applications developers and entrepreneurs and learn more about Nigeria’s Start-up ecosystem.