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‘Social media is changing Nigeria’s real estate sector’

Unlike before, whereby the print and electronic media were the only channels toward reaching buyers in the real estate industry, the social media is Asides the fact that major firms now have presence on websites, the sites are further linked to various social media platforms which have transformed to aggregator for large market audience, especially the youth and the tech-savvy individuals.

Statistics show that over 60 per cent of those looking for homes now use the internet to search for properties against the age-long culture of first looking for an estate agent to perform that role.Experts say, YouTube has become the second-largest search engine in the world used to explore houses and communities when considering property destinations.In fact, many estate agents have remained active on social media to monitor clients’ interest in newly listed properties following clusters on channels across the web.Furthermore, real estate firms now partner specialised videography companies in interior, exterior and drone footage of staged homes, helping sellers engage potential buyers via video uploaded before they commit to a walk-through.Marketing professionals claim that video content has the best return on investment since 2015 even as 93per cent of marketers use video for online marketing, sales or communication.The power of the tools also resonates in showing detailed property listing information to a large group of people and at the same time engaging them simultaneously whereas, this could be impossible to execute in person.

For Instagram, its ability to receive instant feedback on property listing makes it a phenomenal tool and it’s considered as the fastest-growing social media platform, with over 500 million monthly users, according to experts.But how has Nigeria’s realtors been adapting the platform for the profession, an estate surveyor and Valuer, Mr.Rawlings Ehumadu explained the effect of social media has really taken root in the real estate industry. He said through the platforms, clients and prospect are reached very easily without spending so much like before, on advertising on major traditional media.According to him, social network comes very easily and has thus, become very easier to reach out to clients.He said the big social media platforms like, FaceBook, Instagram, LinkedIn WhatsApp and others have commercial packages through which we promote real estate products for as little as between $2, $5 and $10 that you can afford to push your product for you as far as you want.
“It will pull your products to America and wherever you want it to get to while you are sitting within the comfort of your office. I have used it a number of times and it actually paid up and so it’s quite exciting”.In my practice, I noticed that I don’t move around as much as I used to. Anytime am on the road, it’s for something very serious.Time wasting on travelling has become much reduced and so it helps us a lot generally”, he noted.On the trust people have on transactions via the social media, he observed that it depends on the background of the practitioners.It is left for the people to do their individual search on the personality advertising the product.He said, “I have sold property for people that I have not met before and I transferred money to them.For client to give you some level of trust, they must have done their due diligence on you and perhaps realise that even though they meet you on social media, you are still a professional practitioner”.If a client could further do a search on the person advertising, trust can’t be a problem especially if you have a website and belong to a credible professional organisation.

For business to thrive, he noted there must be trust because service is about trust”.Mr.Rawlings, who is also the principal partner of Rawlings Ehummandu and Company observed that the convenience of social media is remarkable having become a worldwide thing. Even though there are lots of junks on social media, he maintained that credible people still come on board.On his part, Richard Olodu, the principal partner, Richard Olodu and Company, said the platforms has been adapted by professional real estate practitioners to specifically showcase properties for people within the profession as well as contacts on the platforms who are friends and families who might have a client for advertised property.“Though the platform is close ended, the traditional media still remain open ended.People have trust in their friends and families. Any advert through such platform everybody knows where each person lives and much about themselves.

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Real estate funds ‘ll boost economic activities —Report

Nike Popoola. The FSDH Research has said that a real estate fund is an investment vehicle that can be used to address Nigeria’s housing shortage
FSDH Merchant Bank stated this in its report on ‘Real estate fund — Investment vehicle to address housing shortage in Nigeria.’It observed that there was a significant shortage of affordable housing in Nigeria.The housing gap is estimated to stand between 17 and 20 million units, it stated.“This means that Nigeria needs to build between 17 and 20 million housing units to ensure that Nigerians have this basic human need,” it added.The report said, in monetary terms, Nigeria might require between N170tn to N200tn to bridge the housing gap if each unit costs N10m.
It stated, “Given the rising population in the country, the housing shortage keeps increasing. Meanwhile, the developments in the real estate sector of the Nigerian economy, which is where activities that will close the housing shortage will take place, have not been impressive.”Economic activity in the real estate sector had been consistently contracting since Q1 2016, it said.In addition, it added, investors (both retail and high net worth) could create wealth in real estate through regularly investing in a Real Estate Fund without investing directly in the brick and mortar.
“REF is an investment vehicle that pools resource together to invest in real estate, therefore, allowing individual investors to partake in the benefits of the underlying properties,” it added.The report said there was no minimum amount to invest in a REF, adding that it was suitable for all investors.
REFs have not gained much popularity in Nigeria in terms of the numbers available and their size relative to the size of the Nigerian economy.The report said there were currently only three REFs listed on the NSE which are Skye Shelter Fund, Union Homes Real Estate Investment Trust and UPDC Real Estate Investment Trust.
According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, the total value of the assets of all three funds stood at N43.74bn as of 18 January 2019; this represents about 0.03 per cent of Nigeria’s total Gross Domestic Product, it added.The FSDH Research noted that the assets had recorded weak growth over the last five years, perhaps due to the slow activity in the real estate sector in general.The inadequate information on how REFs worked and how investors could take advantage of the investment opportunities in them might also explain why REFs were not growing as they should, the FSDH said.It stated, “FSDH Research believes REFs can be used as one of the measures to boost activity in the real estate sector.As patronage for REFs in Nigeria increases, more funds would be available to buy and develop more real estate properties. Consequently, the real estate sector would begin to experience increased activity.”

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