The property market has been down since the last recession and it is yet to bounce back. What effect has it had on Knight Frank Nigeria’s operations?
There has been an effect on all areas of the economy. It has affected every transaction because there is no market and it is affecting mortgages, leasing, and sales. There is no power for transactions again. So, the economic downturn in the property market has affected all aspects of the market.
Despite the downturn, what prospects do you see in the industry?
There are prospects because the government has come up with a very good blueprint on what the economy is all about. They have set up a new economic team that intends to resuscitate the economy. So, I see a very good situation from the first quarter of next year and the market will bounce back.
For now, the vacancy has declined from the last quarter of this year and things are improving in every other sector; transactions have been coming up and things have been opening up.
What aspects of the industry would you like the economic team to address urgently?
It is the housing deficit. It has affected a lot of things. Without solving the human aspect of the economy, people will not have shelter on their heads and it is very key. The government has to take care of the masses. The shelter is important. The government has to look into that deficit; it is almost about 20 million. The housing delivery is very poor; the government has to come up with a template to see how to improve the market situation.
They should probably try to reduce the interest rate or give more mortgages out so that the first-time buyers and the middle class will have access to these facilities.
The government is trying to come up with housing solutions but it is not meeting the first-timers who have no purchasing power. It is for the upper class.
What global best practices would you like to see replicated in the industry?
It is transparency and integrity, which is what we stand for at Knight Frank. We have what it takes in terms of transparency, integrity and the brand.
A lot has been said about the lack of transparency on data in the industry, which is preventing foreign direct investment. What is your view on this?
Without data, we can’t get it right. We have to set up the template on how to get those data in the various subsectors of the construction industry and housing delivery. When that is in place, everything else will fall in place.
You still find out that some of our valuation reports are key assets. The banks rely on our valuation reports because of the transparency and the uncompromised process and expertise.
What are your plans as the new senior partner and CEO of Knight Frank Nigeria?
We have to reiterate our best practices and our international standards. We won’t compromise. We will increase our transparency and integrity. We also plan to train the young ones to know what assets management is all about.
The young ones don’t have what it takes to be good valuers. We want to set up an academy to train them so that they can be better and the housing delivery will be better. We will bring them from schools and teach them the skills.
source: MAUREEN IHUA-MADUENYI