Estate agents confirm drop in rent as Economy bites harder


‘It’s expected’ – they echo

It’s no longer news that rent across the major cities in Nigeria, especially Lagos, has dropped drastically. What’s on the lips of many at the moment is the alarming rate at which some residents in some high brow areas of the state, from Lekki, Ajah, Victoria island, Ikoyi, Magodo, GRA to Omole and other areas are vacating their apartments as a result of the on-going recession which has crippled the finances of many Nigerians, including the high and mighty.

ENCOMIUM Weekly’s findings revealed that most of the occupants of these A-list residences vacated them because of their inability to cope with the rent again. The investigations further revealed that most of the tenants also left as majority have lost their job leading to owing their landlords even more than a year’s rent.

According to Mr. Obi Uzor of Obi and Co Properties Limited, Ogba, over 70 percent of Lekki houses are vacant at the moment. And as a result, almost all the estate agents handling the affected apartments have been forced to reduce their charges per annum. This scenario, he said, was due to the economic challenges the country is facing now.

“Yes, this is the real time of recession. A situation when even the supposed big men can’t afford rent anymore. You will agree with me that it’s very critical. And that’s expected.

“Now, as I speak, most houses in Lekki, Ajah, Victoria Island and Ikoyi have no tenants. Most of the people that formerly occupied those apartments have no gainful employment that can pay the rent any more. Most of them have relocated to the Mainland here. And that has forced the rent of those mansions down beyond expectations. Even prices of properties have also come down to barest minimum in those areas.

“The worst thing now is that most of these properties may be there vacant for so long if the country’s situation doesn’t improve. For now, no buyer is ready to bid for them because of the fear of uncertainty. So, the landlords there are groaning seriously. Before, a three bedroom was like N4.5 million per annum. But now, people can’t afford even N3 million again. I once rented out a mini-flat in Lekki for N2.7 million, but now it’s vacant. And those coming for it couldn’t even pay N2 million.

“A lot of houses are now up for sale in all these beautiful areas. Some are even planning to relocate back to their villages or abroad if they quickly have the opportunity of getting their property disposed. But the issue now is the price. So, things are very terrible everywhere.

“Also, a lot of houses are vacant in Magodo, Omole, Surulere, Maryland, GRA, even Ogba here.

“In Ogba here, a room self contained used to be about N200,000 per annum, but now, we’re giving it out for as low as N150,000. A two bedroom that used to cost minimum of N500,000 now goes for as low as N350,000, while a three bedroom that people used to pay as much as between N700,000 and N800,000 now goes for as cheap as N500,000 or N600,000. Even the rent also depends on the status of the building in terms of whether it’s old, fairly used or new.

“A duplex in Omole which was formerly N2.5 million is now N1.7 million, while some other duplexes in the same vicinity are not even as high as that. Also in Magodo, most of the landlords there who want to sell their property are yet to do so, while some of their tenants who are still owing rent are yet to pay. It’s everywhere and unless something urgent is done concerning this harsh times, we will be hearing cases of series of crisis between landlords and their tenants. Even in all these middle income earners’ areas, we have resolved a lot crises emanating from the inability of tenants to settle rent arrears.”

Also, Mr. Ayo Adedoyin of TRNAD Properties corroborated the earlier submission. He added that the only solution is prayer.

“Things are hard. This change has not yielded the desired results. Not only the poor are affected, it affects everybody. And no sector is spared. In our sector, we have discovered that rent has reduced but landlords don’t have a choice than to accept what is available. Even the situation has also affected us as estate agents and valuers.

“In a recession like this, such a thing shouldn’t be a surprise to us all. All I think Nigerians need at the moment is prayer. I believe there will be gain after the pain.”

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