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DETAIL's seminar highlights technology disruptions in Nigerian real estate sector

07 May 2018, 06:44 pm
Financial Nigeria
DETAIL's seminar highlights technology disruptions in Nigerian real estate sector

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The seminar sought to identify disruptors in the real estate market; opportunities created by disruptions; and efficient ways of positioning businesses to take advantage of these opportunities.

(Left to right) Dolapo Kukoyi, Partner, DETAIL; Sonnie Ayere, CEO, Dunn Loren Merrifield; Tosin Ajose, Associate Partner DETAIL participating at the 7th DETAIL Business Series

In a bid to emphasize the trends in technology disruptions in the real estate sector in Nigeria – and also consider opportunities created by such disruptions – experts in the legal and real estate industries in Nigeria gathered on April 4, 2018 to deliberate at the 7th DETAIL Business Series seminar. The seminar, which held in Lagos, was organized by Detail Commercial Solicitors (DETAIL), a law firm specializing in non-court room practice.  

Organized under the theme “Navigating‎ the Evolving Real Estate Marketplace: Dealing with Market Disruptors,” the seminar sought to identify disruptors in the real estate market; opportunities created by disruptions; and efficient ways of positioning businesses to take advantage of these opportunities.

Speaking on the purpose of the event, Tosin Ajose, an Associate Partner heading DETAIL’s real estate and construction practice, said, “we think that Nigeria cannot be isolated from the global trends in the real estate market and we thought it was an apt time for us to talk about the way the real estate environment is changing so people are well-positioned to benefit from the disruptions.”

Mrs. Ajose further buttressed that, “DETAIL drives thought leadership around its practice areas and it has looked at the landscape and identified where the real estate market is heading. The reason for this forum’s discussion is therefore to ensure that people know where the market is going and position themselves in anticipation of the changes.”
Speaking at the event on the topic, “PropTech: Developing a Smarter Marketplace,” Dr.  Andrew Nevin, Partner and Chief Economist, PwC Nigeria, revealed that the real estate sector is the most important sector to the Nigerian economy and the success of the economy is highly dependent on building a robust real estate sector. However, the growth of the sector is currently limited by gaps in the land titling system.

Dr. Nevin said, “The real estate system cannot work without a proper land registry. It is a mathematical impossibility. If you don’t know you own the land, you will not improve it. If the bank doesn’t know you own the land, they are not going to lend against it.”

The PwC Nigeria Partner also explained that technology, specifically blockchain, can be explored and implemented to establish a proper land registry in Nigeria. Blockchain is a decentralized ledger of all transactions in a network. Participants in the network can confirm transactions without the need for a trusted third-party intermediary. The advantages of blockchain for land registration is that it is tamper-proof, which reduces the chance of forgery or manipulation. It can unify the land registration process under a single digital platform and also help to automate the process of registration.  

Mr. Sonnie Ayere, CEO, Dunn Loren Merrifield, spoke on the topic, “Alternative Funding Opportunities in a Digitally Enabled Market.” He emphasized that the growing trend involves looking to financial technology (fintech) companies for alternative sources of funding for real estate projects, rather than the traditional banks.

Mr. Ayere said, “Fintechs offer diverse financial services and solutions using modern technology, such as digital lending platforms; online real estate investment options for individuals; or investments in single-family homes for institutional investors.”

He discussed the option of “crowdfunding,” an online platform for raising financing that is gaining popularity in other countries but is currently prohibited under Nigerian law. He noted that there is a possibility that in the future, Nigerian laws and regulations could change to accommodate crowdfunding. Mr. Ayere also discussed financing options via the Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company, which was established to further increase access to mortgages in the market. He also proposed unlocking financing capital via pension funds.  
Speaking on the topic, “Using Data to Create an Efficient Property Market,” Mr. Dolapo Omidire, Founder & Team Lead, Estate Intel, explained that technology has made data more readily available than it was a decade ago. Data can assist in charting the future of any sector, including real estate. He pointed out that access to data can assist greatly in making sound investment decisions in the real estate sector.   

The final session of the seminar was a panel featuring Mrs. Tosin Ajose, as moderator. The panelists were Mr. Femi Williams, CEO, Chams Plc; Mr. Adeniyi Adeleye, Head, Real Estate Finance (West Africa), Standard Bank Group; Mr. Abdulmalik Mahdi, Director, Sales, Brains & Hammers; and Mr. Dolapo Omidire Founder & Team Lead, Estate Intel.  

Titled, “Thriving in a Disruptive Market,” the panel session focused on exploring the various ways in which market participants can key into the evolving market. It was revealed during the session that the market is fast evolving and consumer interests are gradually changing. One significant change in consumer interest is demand for smarter spaces in both the residential and office property markets; another is more flexible rental payment structures. Consumers are now also interested in having real estate developments completed a lot quicker than before. It was also discussed that modern building technology such as modular technology can help match this demand.

Mr. Mahdi admitted that technology has also greatly assisted in the sale of properties. With the advent of virtual reality, home buyers are able to experience and interact with their home spaces even before completion. This has enhanced consumer confidence and improved sales.

Detail Commercial Solicitors is distinct as Nigeria's first commercial solicitor firm to specialize exclusively in non-courtroom practice. Based in Lagos, Nigeria’s business capital, DETAIL is totally committed to its clients’ business objectives and reputed for dealing with the minutiae.

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