Nigeria and Kenya Lead African Countries in Real Estate Sector Growth as Industry Experts Urge Stakeholders to Embrace New Technology

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Nigeria and Kenya are leading African countries in terms of real estate sector growth. This is according to Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated (JLL), an US-based professional services and investment management company with operations worldwide.

Speaking ahead of this year’s Africa Property Investment (API) Summit & Expo, global leaders have reported strong growth in data and transparency in Africa, a move that has helped develop many sectors, including the housing industry. JLL is set to reveal the growth numbers at this year’s Expo.

It has already emerged that Lagos and Nairobi, two prominent cities in Nigeria and Kenya respectively, are already ranked favorably by market researchers and real estate companies.

Knight Frank, a leading regional realtor, revealed earlier this year that Kenyan property is increasingly appealing to the world’s wealthiest investors.

Meanwhile, research group, Euromonitor ranked Nigeria among the world’s top mortgage growth markets in 2017.

The annual Africa Property Investment Summit, which is now in its 9th year, is now looking to highlight the two countries’ growth potential. The affair, which will take place in Johannesburg on the 20th and the 21st of September 2018, has been touted as Africa’s largest and most premier real estate event.

The event connects the most influential local and international Africa property stakeholders, driving investment and development into a wide range of real estate and infrastructure projects and developments across the continent.

The event’s primary objectives are creating a platform for African and global real estate data and transparency experts to share insights and solidify global and regional investor confidence in Africa’s high growth economies.

At this year’s edition of Summit, Jeremy Kelly, of JLL’s London sub-headquarters is set to present the African Chapter of the firm’s market leading Global Real Estate and Transparency Index (GRETI) to 600 of the continent’s leading real estate developers and investors.

“In this year’s version, only 10 of the 15 African markets have improved, which has been led by Nigeria and Kenya,” Kelly said in a recent address.

Recognised as a global thought leader and advocate for transparency and data across global real estate markets, Kelly will lead the conversation on the importance of data and transparency which are vital in establishing market health and making better decisions.

“Our aim at the summit will be to draw attention to the importance of real estate transparency, not only in boosting investment, but also enhancing business efficiencies, raising living standards and safeguarding the environment,” he explained.

Kelly is expected to provide a unique perspective and context on how African markets can move up the ‘transparency spectrum’ to the continent’s decision makers.

“We hope our presentation will be a catalyst for event participants to think about how they can practically contribute to enhancing transparency in Africa,” he said.

While African countries upward movement in GRETI in 2014 and 2016 were notable Kelly stated that only 10 of the 15 African markets ranked in the index have improved, led by Nigeria and Kenya.

“Overall, we continue to see advances made in areas such as the quality and frequency of valuations across many markets in sub-Saharan Africa, while market data availability has also continued to improve for select countries and sectors such as logistics and hotels,” stated Kelly.

According to Kenya based Charles Ballard, of Sagaci Research, one of the firms credited for developing greater actionable insight into Africa’s growing retail sector, data in the industry is usually ‘limited and or obsolete.’

He explained that Africa’s youthful population, informality and rapid growth makes measurement especially challenging for stakeholders in the industry.

“Younger consumers tend to be less conservative and more open to trying new things – the rapidity with which Kenyan consumers adopted mobile money is an excellent example of this trend,” he said.

Ballard added that these developments make it even more critical for data to be up to date and transparent in Africa and not inconsistent and fragmented, which is one of the primary challenges encountered by Dolapo Omdire of Nigeria’s Estate Intel, a Lagos-based property developer.

Nonetheless, Kelly believes Africa can use to leap ahead of other markets by embracing new technology that will drive data acquisition and development.

“Africa has an opportunity at this point to utilize blockchain for land registries or transactions; ‘smart’ buildings and infrastructure for facilities management or repair; or new database capabilities for collaborative data sharing between market participants – to jumpstart the traditional methods of improving market data and building real estate markets that are fit for the future,” Kelly said.

According to the host of the 9th API Summit & Expo, Kfir Rusin, increasing data flow and transparency will be pivotal to the development and deepening of investment in the continent’s property markets.

“Being able to bring global and Africa pioneers together at the API Summit & Expo and aid them in leveraging our platform to elevate the importance of data and transparency as a key driver of investment growth is a primary objective of the conference,” Rusin said.

 

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