Flashback: Flipping through the popular Castles property magazine, even if you don’t have money in your pocket you can at least have a view of what the rich folks are buying in “2009”. ” 2 bedrooms bungalow, at Agbado Ijaye Lagos, All ensuite, with a swimming pool, asking price: 4million naira. The listing has only one picture attached to it” Another page has the listing of a flat for rent “3 bedroom flat, 2 toilets, and security, at Iwo road Ibadan, the total package is 150,000 Naira, no picture is attached to this listing.”
This was the reality of real estate listing in Nigeria before technology came into play. In fact, this was the easiest way to find a property as the alternative was to meet with a caretaker (relator) and be limited to the properties within his or her reach.
Present Day: You are planning your migration from Canada, (your Japa move) all is ready but you need a place to stay for at least 5days after arrival. You go online and scroll through the Airbnb site, and you see a property you like, in the location you want, 5 pictures and a video are attached to this listing, and you make a move and pay for the rent. Without knowing anyone in Canada you have secured a place for yourself hassle-free.
The example is just one of the few features that come with real estate enabled with technology.
According to Ascendix an expert prop-tech company, in operation for years, explains that Prop-tech “is all the tech tools Real Estate experts use to optimize the way people buy, sell, research, market, and manage a property. These innovative technologies are also known as Real Estate Tech, Retech, Realtech, and CRE Tech depending on which lens you’re looking through.” In shorter terms, it is the use of technology to create ease the sales or accessibility to Real estate.
This is as simple as being a relator and posting available listings online. Anyone can view the posts on popular messenger apps or social media apps and contact the relator. Audiences are also given the leisure of viewing available properties from their comfort zones without having to go from house to before they can pick their choice. This is indeed a lifestyle evolution.
It is true, there are startups in Nigeria that have ventured into this niche in fact according to a report in August 2022, there are about 70 active Prop-tech startups in Nigeria. Just as startups are, these pro-techs try to develop different initiatives in one niche, it’s amazing how each start-up tries to stand out and be unique, yet the question remains, are they truly solving a problem?
In another report, about 62 million Nigerians face a housing crisis, while Mrs Uzo Onukwubiri, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Sow Real Estate also said that “about 30 per cent of the entire population still struggle with quality shelter and housing crisis, and this implies that urgent attention should be placed on the country’s housing sector if the housing needs of the inhabitants are to be met.”
Statistics and statements all point to the fact that there is indeed a problem that needs solving, Nigerians indeed need access to platforms that can connect them to housing, and help them move from a current housing situation to a better housing reality, without so much struggle. This is the problem Prop-tech is created to solve.
It is obvious that the amount of active Prop-tech in Nigeria, according to the report is not enough to serve the Nigerian population, yet we also have to consider if enough of the population is aware of the now accessible ease.
For a population of 217million people, 70 prop-tech in the nation does not serve half of the population irrespective of the traction each of them is building. This means the current number of startups are not solving the pending problem Nigerians are facing.
With the database available other talents are encouraged to startup in this niche, this is required for other Nigerians to be able to move from flipping a real estate magazine or seeking a relator with only two listings to accessing thousands of listings from their comfort zone and picking a choice without having to move an inch.