Africa as a continent is plagued with a lot of social and economic issues; so much that the bulk of its inhabitants are disconnected from the benefits and opportunities that societal development and economic growth offer.
One of such issues is the age-old housing crisis that seems to be getting worse as the day goes by. This crisis proposes a challenge that goes beyond finding a place to call home. It has affected property ownership culture, migration trends and economic development.
Housing affordability is a function of three things: household income, the price of the house, and the terms of the finance. Across Africa, the confluence of low urban household incomes, and high mortgage interest rates and short tenors (where these exist) or no finance at all, results in very low housing affordability.
With African cities becoming the new home to over 40,000 people every day, many of whom find themselves without a roof over their heads, there is a need for an urgent solution and one that is accessible and implementable.
Today, we are chatting with Dele Ijaiya-Oladipo, about Tempohousing’s journey, strategy, and how they have been able to facilitate the affordable housing industry in Africa.
Tempohousing Nigeria (THN), is a leading Nigerian-based project developer, the fastest growing and most recognized modular design and construction company. The company specialises in the manufacturing of flexible and affordable residential and commercial real estate properties using standard ISO shipping containers. Incorporated in December 2011, with operations starting in 2012, THN has grossed c. NGN2.1bn (c.USD6 million) in revenues by addressing the operational requirements of individuals, governments and multinational companies with flexible and affordable cargotecture-based solutions. The company seeks to become a leading developer of low-cost residential and commercial real estate properties in Nigeria and West Africa.
In the last four years, THN has successfully constructed over 400 modular units for multinational companies such as Stanbic IBTC, METKA, Exxon Mobil, Novo Nordisk, Oil Serv, and Ecobank. The company has built a robust pipeline of commercial and residential real estate projects for banks, oil and gas companies, and engineering and construction companies in Nigeria. THN is uniquely positioned to benefit from Nigeria’s large and under-served student housing market, an estimated USD3.7 billion market by 2025, by providing affordable student hostels for universities across the country. In addition, THN plans to develop low-cost residential and commercial properties aimed at addressing the 17 million housing unit deficit in Nigeria.
ABOUT DELE IJAIYA-OLADIPO – Managing Partner
Dele’s career started in Investment Banking specifically in Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A). Dele worked on the Transport & Logistics and Mining and Energy teams at Nomura International London. This role saw his contributions to the US$1.8bn IPO of PIK Group – a Russian REIT, and the US$500m acquisition of ISTIL – a Ukrainian steel mini-mill amongst others. He has also worked at JP Morgan and HSBC (both in London), in Equity Derivatives Marketing and Financial Institutions M&A respectively. Prior to ANA, Dele was a Senior Associate at CBO Capital Partners, a role he assumed since the Company’s inception. He helped launch the firm and was in charge of building out the operational team as well as leading the execution of several interesting deals. Here, he led work on several deals including the setup of a US$30m solar park in Northern Nigeria, a US$130m financing of Yenagoa based private refinery, and other projects in the upstream oil, telecoms and services space. He has a Masters degree from the London School of Economics (LSE) in Real Estate Economics and Corporate Finance, in conjunction with a BSc in Economics from the University of Leeds. Dele along with a partner founded Ampersam Network Associates, a business solutions and project development company that is the majority shareholder in Tempohousing Nigeria.
So, here we go. Meet Dele of TempoHousing Nigeria.
- Please introduce yourself
My name is Oladele Ijaiya-Oladipo. I am a managing partner in Tempohousing Nigeria Limited, a leading cargotecture solutions provider in Nigeria. I am in charge of marshalling resources to the most productive uses with the aim of creating maximum value for the company’s stakeholders. I am also in charge of delivering THN objectives as set out by the Board of Directors. Our aim is to be the automatic choice for sustainable housing in Nigeria first then West Africa.
- How would you describe the real estate industry vis-a-vis the state of the economy (Nigeria)?
The Nigerian real estate sector has recorded tremendous growth in the last decade as a result of a number of trends and development within the broader economy. Population growth, rapid urbanisation and changing demographics are some of the factors driving demand in the Nigerian real estate sector. The expansion in the banking sector, which led to increased lending capacity to support the activities of real estate developers as well as the buying public, also supported growth. Growth has also been buoyed by sustained democracy in the country which has paved the way for foreign investment into the Nigerian economy.
The real estate sector accounts for 3.1% of Nigeria’s rebased GDP of USD504 billion implying an estimated size of USD15.6 billion. The housing market in Nigeria presents an acute shortage of 17 million units requiring an investment of USD326 billion to fulfil. In key urban areas, this deficit is increasing at a 20% rate annually. The formal sector is incapable of meeting this demand and the sector is still hobbled by a myriad of factors including bureaucracy, access to finance and skills development. The gap is most acute in Lagos, the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria where the annual housing gap is greater than 200,000 units. 77% of the country’s financial transactions are generated in Lagos and its population increases at 6% per annum.
Supply restraints due to the high cost of concrete construction, skilled labour and public infrastructure leading to the need for alternative construction methods for residential and commercial real estate. Total current housing production is at about 100,000 units per year for a country of nearly 170 million, an additional 700,000 additional units each year are needed. These factors drive THN’s strategic focus on the real estate market.
- What is most fulfilling about real estate development?
Simply put, is the privilege of being part of the team providing solutions to a major problem of humanity- housing, a core need of the masses in the country. We are a credible alternative to traditional construction and this is evident by the number of cargotecture buildings seen in the last 3 years compared with the prior 7. It validates what we set out to do from the get-go where the most time we were told it wasn’t possible
- The biggest roadblock to achieving your business goal(s)…
The biggest challenge has been the stigma of living in a non-conventional building. Many thought it couldn’t be done, but THN has proven through a solid track record and paved the way for more cargotecture buildings in the country. Other challenges are :
- Inadequate finance mechanisms for alternative housing
- Inadequacy of administrative and legislative framework
- Inadequacy of housing information system
- Fact: Africa currently suffers from a housing deficit of 56 million units, with Nigeria accounting for 17 million units. How is TempoHousing Nigeria addressing the housing deficit gap in Nigeria?
THN is developing properties in commercially-viable and densely-populated locations. With low costs, quick construction, rapid deployment and experienced and skilled project managers with technical expertise from our sister company in Holland, THN aims to be at the forefront of the current government push for alternative technologies to solve its housing crisis. THN will set up post-investment to have the capacity to handle larger orders with a key focus on operational efficiency and profitability.
The pilot project with Cofundie is a model we plan to roll out nationwide. It promotes inclusiveness by allowing any investor to own a small share of the project. An expected successful campaign will birth many more projects and with the speed at which THN can roll out, we would be tackling the housing deficit directly. We are also addressing a previously underserved market of the high quality one-bedroom and studio units which are currently scarce in desirable areas.
- What differentiates Container Homes from its competitors?
- Prefabricated modules can also be easily transported by ship, truck or rail, because they already conform to standard shipping sizes, while the transportation of different materials needed for conventional methods, contribute to making construction costs higher.
- Used shipping containers are available across the globe, while Cement, the primary product for building is readily available, but at a high cost. Highest in Africa.
- Shipping containers have a rigid shape, making it difficult for more complicated designs, while Shaping bricks and mortar is a lot easier so design flexibility is endless.
- What piqued your interest in sustainable housing?
My first real insight was during my MSc in Real Estate Economics and Finance at the London School of Economics. After a stint working in banking, further research was done into what problem could be solved that would also make commercial sense. Container congestion has been a long-standing problem, and the notion of upcycling these containers to solve housing issues was a no-brainer.
- How do these homes fare against other traditional forms of housing?
At the moment, there is yet work to be done in the area of public awareness of container homes in the country. Based on current exposure, the reception of the technology is encouraging. When people see the finished products, they are wowed. Also, the fact that the construction time is far less than that of the conventional method is a major plus, coupled with a reduction in construction cost.
Containers used for construction benefit the environment through their reuse as long-term living units, versus melting the units for scrap metal, which demands a significant amount of energy. Container living units outperform and outlast conventionally built units in areas that are subject to adverse weather conditions because the intact structural module of the container can also withstand harsh weather conditions and high wind loads.
- What is your projection for real estate in (country: Nigeria) in the new decade?
Nigeria has no choice but to warmly embrace other methods of construction. Traditional methods haven’t filled the gap as faster, cheaper and more environmentally-conscious methods need to be embraced. We expect further acceptance of these alternative construction means starting from the government to the banks and ultimately to individuals.
- In what ways do you think the real estate and investment sectors would influence each other?
As the demand far outweighs supply, there are excellent investment opportunities in the low-cost housing and student accommodation market. There is currently no recognised player in the Nigerian student Housing sector. This creates an opportunity for a player with an innovative solution to build up a large market share within a relatively short period of time.
The majority of Nigerian students in tertiary institutions are students from low income earning households. Therefore small student apartments are more popular than large ones.
There are a number of property investment options available to the enterprising Nigerian property investor interested in exploring the world of student housing.
Thank you for reading.
THN is a partner of Tempohousing Global Limited, (“THG”) a leading Netherland-based project developer . THN residential and commercial units can be constructed three times quicker and up to 30% cheaper than conventional methods.
For more information on Tempohousing and its offerings, visit www.tempohousingnigeria.com or follow them on Instagram : @(tempohousingnigeria), LinkedIN : TEMPOHOUSING NIGERIA LIMITED
Cofundie as a product is a tool that caters to two personalities – property developers and investors. As a service, it is poised to help you sponsor the construction of affordable housing in return for a share of the profit after these homes are sold or rented out. This means locating the best properties to invest in.
Every month, we will be talking to one property developer, asking them questions about their work and how Cofundie is helping them shape the direction of business and life. If you are interested in knowing more about prominent property developers and how they have impacted the industry, click here.