For property developers/investors looking for opportunities to explore in 2022, experts are of the opinion that providing student housing at select universities across the country remains their best bet. DAYO AYEYEMI, reports

There are no less than 170 universities in the country, of which 79 are private while another 91 belong to both federal and state governments.

While private university owners cater to the accommodation needs of students, the same cannot be said for public universities, especially state-owned ones, as students are left to fend for themselves.

In a few established public universities such as the University of Lagos, University of Ibadan and the others where at least strong efforts are made to provide accommodation for students, the available facilities cannot do the trick, living a huge deficit due to the increase in the student population. being offered admissions annually.

Despite the opportunities offered in this segment of the real estate sector, only a few informal owners profit from the conversion of their property into a hostel.

In areas where new housing is being built, supporting facilities are lacking due to lack of funds and poor understanding of investment.

It is against this backdrop that property developers/investors are urged to explore the opportunities inherent in providing student accommodation in their decision making this year.

According to them, such a business promises high returns on investment.

Speaking to the Nigerian Tribune in an interview, the First Vice President of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), Mr. Johnbull Amayaevbo pointed out that there is no part of Nigerian cities where investors /developers would not reap their investments if they focus on student accommodation.

He noted that student accommodation has become a challenge for authorities.

According to him, many school authorities could not meet 15 to 20% of their students’ accommodation needs.

For this reason, the real estate expert and appraiser urged developers/investors to take up the challenge and invest in executive student hostels, which he says have huge returns on investment.

“We know that in Nigeria we have so many schools – tertiary institutions, and one of their major shortcomings is housing.

“The authorities of certain establishments cannot take care of 15 to 20% of the accommodation needs of their students.

“The developer can invest in a hostel for executive students, which promises a huge return on investment,” he said.

Richard Olodu, a Lagos-based property surveyor and appraiser, urged potential property investors to invest in student accommodation, neighborhood shopping malls, serviced industrial facilities and warehouses.

On the best ways to go about it, Olodu recalled that the Lagos State Government recently reached an agreement with private developers through a public-private partnership (PPP) to develop a hostel/student accommodation at the Lagos State University, Ojo.

Eximia Founder/CEO Mr. Hakeem Oguniran in his presentation on “Top Real Estate to Watch” also identified student hostel accommodation as one of the “potential sweet spots” where developers/investors could plant their tent in 2022

Harrowing student experiences

Nigerian Tribune found that students from most universities had a thing or two to say about their experiences.

Citing the example of the University of Lagos, one of the students, who did not want his name printed, said that due to limited hostel accommodation available, most students resorted to squat .

According to him, the process was done online and is only accessible to students who have paid the tuition. “In most cases, we see six to eight occupants, with each occupant squatting someone else. Sometimes it’s usually a friend helping a friend or an occupier who splits the bills with the original owner of the space.

He further explained that due to the difficulty in finding accommodation, most of the lucky students sold to other students at unimaginable prices.

“The accommodation fee is N15,000 but these students go so far as to sell it for N80,000-90,000 to desperate fellow students. Most of the time when they buy, they are looking for a partner to foot the bill,” he alleged.

Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti is a non-residential campus, where students must seek accommodation.

Stating what is possible to get in college, one of the new graduates, who simply identified himself as “Sunday”, said most students used to run for accommodation in neighboring Iworoko wards, while others went as far as Fajuyi and Adebayo wards in the city. center.

According to him, a regular room costs between N60,000 and N70,000, while an executive apartment costs between N80,000 and N120,000 per year depending on location and facilities.

Despite this arrangement, he said there was a severe shortage of student accommodation at the university.

Viability

Speaking to the Nigerian Tribune recently, Professor in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Lagos, Professor Leke Oduwaye, said that coincidentally he was involved in some, pointing out that the viability of such an investment would depend on location and profile. of the university or the public’s perception of the rank of the university.

For many state universities, the professor explained that the majority of students were natives with low ability to pay high rent despite high demand.

According to him, these students sought accommodation in mostly existing unoccupied buildings around towns. “So the major challenge is that for the investment to be profitable, it has to be a long-term investment, but due to the high interest rates of the banks which do not favor low/ slow, that’s a major problem.”

P3 initiative

In 2021, the Lagos State Government signed a Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) agreement with six private property developers to deliver 8,272 hostel units to Lagos State University ( LASU) over the next 18 months.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu formally endorsed the BOT deal in a short ceremony held at Lagos House, Marina

The agreement, which will lead to the construction of six blocks of residences, was concluded under the public-private partnership (PPP) policy of the state. The concessions will last 35 years.

When private developers deliver the projects in 2021, it is expected that 30% of the schools’ 26,000 students will be served; thus reducing the pressure resulting from the oversubscription of off-campus private residences.

Following the signing of the agreement, Sanwo-Olu said the development further underscores his administration’s goal of improving the quality of production in public schools, through the provision of critical infrastructure to facilitate an education and higher quality learning.

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