House hunting enters Nigeria’s online space - CNBC Africa

House hunting enters Nigeria’s online space

Western Africa

by Dara Rhodes 0

ToLet.com.ng has the largest online inventory of available rental spaces in Nigeria. PHOTO: Getty images

The country’s online ecosystem is experiencing a new wave of players as online property listings enter the space taking the stress out of house hunting for those in search of homes in Lagos.

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“Just before we started the website, we looked at the property space and we basically realised that more than 70 per cent of the property in the Lagos area is actually up for rent,” Sulaiman Balogun, Co-founder of ToLet.com.ng told CNBC Africa.

Nigeria’s real estate sector is slowly emerging as a promising destination for capital returns on both affordable and high end housing as a significant deficit fuels the nation’s demand for accommodation. However, as the middle class continues to grow, many are still more inclined to renting than buying.

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“You have more people wanting to rent houses than buy houses but we realised that there was no structure in the rental markets, we had issues with fraud and nobody really trusted anything,” he said.

(READ MORE: Nigeria’s property sector in need of proper policy)

ToLet.com.ng has the largest online inventory of available rental spaces in Nigeria and while numerous fashion retailers and movie providers have made access to their businesses easier, the online property listing firm plans to put structure into the sector.

“There was no centralised place for people to go and look for properties and that is what we set out to do from the onset. ToLet.com.ng is starting with the Lagos market, and we decided that we wanted to capture every single market that was available in Lagos,” explained Balogun.

(READ MORE: Changes in Nigerian property trends)

Real estate is one of the fastest growing sectors in the country as an annual growth rate of 9.1 per cent was recorded from 2003 to 2012. As the country’s current housing deficit stands at 17 million units, the possibilities are numerous. This coupled with the e-commerce estimated annual growth rate of 25 per cent, makes the future of online property listings very bright.

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