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Avoid borrowing in foreign currencies, real estate players urged

Real estate stakeholders have been advised to avoid borrowing in foreign currency because of the instability in the foreign exchange market.

The Head of Real Estate Finance, West Africa at Stanbic IBTC, Tola Akinhanmi spoke when stakeholders gathered during this year’s Lagos Business School/Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers Real Estate Summit held in Lagos.

He noted that the interest rate in the last 10 years has been unstable, which has had a significant impact on cross-border transactions.

He noted that borrowing in foreign currency when they are not earning the needed forex to off-set such dollar obligations could be problematic.

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The summit was themed “Building for the future: Innovations, Opportunities and Quality Control”.

Speaking on the topic ‘Building for the future,’ the keynote speaker and Founding Partner of Estate Links Ltd, Gbenga Olaniyan stressed the need to understand the dynamic nature of the market before entertaining the subject matter of building for the next generation.

Olaniyan, who also harped on the need for property practitioners to make decisions based on accurate information and statistics, said that the best approach to real estate was to ‘think long-term.’

He said, “Artificial Intelligence will take over the business of people who don’t use Artificial Intelligence, so the onus is on us all to get connected. We need to understand AI before it leaves us behind, because clearly, this is part of the future of construction.”

In his remarks, the governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu blamed real estate practitioners not building according to the property laws of the state for the menace of building collapse in Lagos.

The governor, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Abimbola Salu-Hundeyin said despite the existing challenges, Lagos is forging ahead to find lasting solutions to the state’s housing concerns.

According to him, by 2035, there will be more than 30 million people living in Lagos, and this would present a challenge of providing affordable housing for the teeming population given the limited land mass of the state.

The Principal Partner Ismail & Partners, Gbenga Ismail said that proper land titling, tax regime, and convenient repatriation of funds are issues that must be addressed in order to increase investments in the industry.

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