18 MILLION WITHOUT A HOME

Nigeria 2018 | REAL ESTATE & CONSTRUCTION | VIP INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Oba Adetola Emmanuel King, Chairman/CEO of Adron Homes & Properties Ltd, on setting up the firm, Nigeria's housing deficit, and challenges facing the sector in 2018.

What was the main driver behind the inception of the company?

The company was established in 2012, and we were driven to make housing affordable for all with the aim to reach as many Nigerians as possible. We know there is no shortage in the high-end market; the housing deficit is within the low end and middle class. The entire affordability concept is not about housing being cheap; housing is not cheap anywhere in the world. It is expensive. And it is not about houses itself, but the totality of the environment: schools, roads, bridges, hospitals and so on. Therefore, the affordability concept is that if a house goes for NGN10 million (USD27,740), one is able to pay for that over a period of like 20 years. When a client approaches a mortgage institution in Nigeria, they will request collateral which on a larger scale is not available. We came in with the strategy of not going through the bank but providing a flexible payment plan between five to ten years which is payable on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. The daily basis is affordable for most Nigerians, especially those who work in the informal sector. The majority of them earn wages on a daily basis and it is easier for them. There is a system already in operation for years called daily contribution “ESUSU" where a group of people come together in a company, group or a society, and they contribute money on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.

How can you contribute to filling the housing deficit in Nigeria?

The passion to make impact in the real estate sector coupled with my academic qualifications. Our vision was to reduce the housing deficit in Nigeria by 10% within the first 10 years, translating to 1.8 million new homes. In the first five years, we have achieved over 100,000 subscribers, which means we still have a long way to go. However, that is a landmark achievement and very historical for a company that is just five years old.

What sets you apart from your competitors?

Our vision set us apart. We are not afraid of competition as we have a clear vision and are not competing with anyone as we are just a focus-driven company with a target, and on a daily basis we increase our land bank and our clientele. We were not impacted by the recession; in fact, in 2016 we experienced tremendous sales. We were not hit because our products as well as our clients were domesticated. Foreign transactions attracted huge costs, and we did not do any foreign transactions, nor rely on foreign products during the recession. Nigeria has a population of over 170 million and over 18 million of them are homeless; that's huge business! We sell everyday and we have demands for our housing products. The lower and middle-class are in dire need of this product.

Can you tell us about your plans to build for Nigerian communities abroad?

The first phase of our intro into other countries is to have our presence there for Nigerians. We have representation in the UK, the US, Canada, and UAE. We have business executives there marketing our product to Nigerians in diaspora. The second stage is to build Nigerian community estates there; we have our presence in these four countries.

What are the current challenges in Nigeria's real estate sector?

The challenges are enormous, starting from land acquisition to product conceptualization to product delivery. The land law or land use decree of 1978 is not favorable. When a company acquires land or buys directly from the government, there are other people to deal with in the host community for a seamless acquisition. Land titles are also a major problem; getting the certificate of occupancy can take months and bottlenecks in land ministries. What should cost a few million ends up costing several million, which adds to the cost of the land or property you build on it. We also have to rely on laborers from the Republic of Benin and other African countries who are often more expensive than our local artisans so this also increases the cost of production. However, with the government's current economic plans we are beginning to see influx of foreign companies setting up production factories in Nigeria, right now we have companies from China producing tiles right here in Nigeria. This is very good for the sector. From inception to completion, the value chain process has enormous challenges.

What is your outlook and expectations for 2018?

Every year we have great expectations. As a company, before we start a year we look at our shortcomings in the last year, what we have achieved, and what we did not achieve. We will approach the new year with new goals and expectations. In 2018 we will expand more into West African countries, build more houses, and acquire more land to satisfy and delight our clients even more.