‘Banks‘ divestment from real estate inevitable’

By Samson Echenim

Friday, 22 Oct 2010

The Managing Director of Afribank property development subsidiary, Afribank Estate Limited, Mr. Charles Njoku, has said it is inevitable for banks to hands-off property development business in the face of ongoing banking reforms.

Njoku said this in an interview with our correspondent shortly before the unveiling of the company‘s newly developed Pearl Estate at Ilupeju, Lagos.

He, however, declined to comment on the plans being adopted by the mother company to divest from property, adding that doing so would pre-empt stakeholders‘ interest.

He said low demand for property was affecting demand and making sales growth slow.

He said, ”We are hoping that we are in for the boom, with election behind us and the banking reforms completed and the banks start lending again. That is why we have a positive outlook in the industry. There is no need hiding ourselves, but we will keep doing what we need to do to move forward.

”Fundamentally, Nigeria is under housed. The industry has a shortfall, which has not been bridged in supply. Therefore, for a long time to come, the real estate industry in Nigeria will always be viable. Fundamentally because of the housing gap of about 16 million units or thereabout.”

”He also said, not achieve the plan in a timely manner. The product may not be sold off as fast we as we want it to go, but at the end of the day, it finally goes. So we just keep doing what we need to do. We are not downsizing. We don‘t have a negative outlook.

”On a good day, a Nigerian needs a house of his own. We may not sell the house easily, but we sell them at the end of the day. That is how we are running the business.”

Source: Punch

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