Demand for residential buildings with a preference for 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom flats within Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt is rising, showing that work from home (WFH) which is now the new normal is gaining traction with more individuals and institutions embracing it.
Work from home is a major fallout of the COVID-19-induced lockdown which confined everybody, especially those in Lagos which is described as the epicentre of the pandemic, to their homes. Experts are of the view that the new normal is not going to end anytime soon if ever it will.
Ayo Ibaru, COO of Northcourt Real Estate, notes in a new report that virtual showings, drone inspections and online project meetings were already trending before COVID- 19, but the lockdown accelerated their adoption.
“COVID-19 has produced an above-average number of divorces, marriages, and births, creating demand for housing. professionals now seek larger apartments that can accommodate a home office,” he said.
This trend means fresh investment opportunity for estate developers, but security, stable power, privacy and good roads are common must-haves for those buildings in order to attract buyer interest.
It has also created an opportunity for existing homeowners who can convert part or whole of their residential property into commercial office space or business premises, thereby raising capital for other economic purposes and/or household upkeep.
Post first wave of COVID-19, the residential property market has seen interesting trends. There is increasing bias for homes in the suburbs, away from the major streets which is largely for security reasons.
“There’s also a gradual shift towards garden-style communities as they offer better living environments fit for social distancing with open spaces, lower density and greater air circulation unlike most high-rises with their closed hallways and elevators,” Ibaru noted.
According to him, in Central Business Districts, (CBDS), there is a growth in demand for micro-apartments – small studio apartments typically under 35sqm with a kitchen and bathroom.
In its recent residential market review, Knight Frank Nigeria pointed out exciting developments in that space, disclosing that the construction of the first phase of the Federal Government’s 300,000 mass-housing scheme under the national economic sustainability plan has started with an initial allocation of $200 billion which was provided by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The report added that a new home ownership scheme is underway in Lagos targeted at young professionals is being embarked upon by the government towards solving the housing challenge. Over 3,000 housing units under the rent-to-own policy are expected to be completed at the end of the year 2020.