Urban Renewal: Why Developing Countries Must Embrace Real Estate

One of the major challenges facing development in third world countries is the strain of having to grapple with the increasing rate of urban decay. Urban decay presents in the form of infrastructural decay, inadequate housing facilities and the growth of slums. This becomes even worse considering the fact that the dawn of the 21st century has brought with it, increase in population growth resulting from high birth rates and longer life expectancy. Sadly, developing countries, especially those in Africa are equally faced with lack of proper planning and inadequate resources.

Central to the basic human needs is shelter. However, shelter in modern times goes beyond just having a shade over one’s head to include having the basic residential necessities such as portable water, electricity, modern toilet facilities, access roads, health care facilities, adequate security, etc. Due to the ever-increasing demand for housing facilities, it is obvious that Government, no matter how efficient cannot totally meet this need.

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The Government is constantly torn between providing new housing facilities or housing loans and renewing areas that are beginning to decay and this often comes with a huge effect on the National budget. For a clue, in 2017, the federal government of Nigeria proposed to commit 100 billion naira towards a new social housing scheme and another 41 billion naira for Federal Government Housing programme. In the 2018 budget submitted by the President to the National Assembly, 35.4 billion naira has been proposed to tackle the housing needs of its work force under the National Housing programme. This why any Government desirous of sustainable development must embrace Real Estate.

Real Estate presents a way out of urban decay and stems the high cost of urban renewal. While this can be looked at as capitalist in nature, it nonetheless provides the only real way out and the only assured lasting solution. First, Real Estate is business, secondly, it is an investment and ultimately it has a sustainable process. Of course, the goal of the Real Estate developer is to make profits, this profit is however embedded in making quality housing available and affordable for the individual who desires to have a home. Since every individual is desirous of owning a home, it is right to claim that Real Estate is developed to serve all.

Developing countries must embrace and provide the enabling environment for Real Estate companies to thrive. If the Real Estate sector is allowed to grow, it will take an enormous stress off the government’s back. Government’s provision of houses can then be limited to resettlements and interventions when necessary. The task of planning, executing, maintaining, determining housing pattern, style, quality and facilities can all be conveniently handled by the Real Estate developer

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The process usually begins with the Real Estate Company acquiring a large parcel of land. Legally that is and usually from the Government. This also eliminates the land issues that often arise from fragmented sales of land by individuals, especially by dubious agents. In essence, the individual who is acquiring a piece of land or buying a house from the Real Estate developer is assured of the authenticity of the property he is purchasing. This accounts for the increasing rate of people who now prefer paying that little extra money to acquire land from Real Estate companies. But then, acquiring large parcel of land from the Government also makes the Real Estate developer sell their plots of land at even cheaper rates. After the acquisition of land, the Real Estate developer conceives the pattern of land use and does a thorough mapping out. The inability to have a clear cut developmental pattern with a strong will to follow it to the letter has been one thing that most developing world Governments have failed to do.

Since Real Estate is a business. The company understands that failure to create something exceptional would be bad for business. On the other hand, they understand that houses or land they sell must be affordable to attract real patronage. Some of the companies sometimes come up with flexible payment patterns that can allow their clients to spread their payments over a period of time, sometimes up to a year. Finally, Real Estate developed houses are expected to meet modern housing requirements. In the long run, the company ensures that they maintain their Estates. Lack of maintenance is the major creator of urban decay and slum growth

Houses for Africa Nigeria Limited (HFAN), is one of the foremost Real Estate companies in Nigeria championing the cause of qualitative and affordable housing in Nigeria. The development of the River Park Estate in Abuja is one of its several projects that will take the Real Estate sector by storm. River park Estate is created in a way that accommodates the different classes of people with varying levels of income. The houses in the Estate range from two-bedroom flats to five-bedroom duplexes with flexible payment patterns, making it easy for anybody who is truly desirous of owning a home in a serene and comfortable environment to have a dream come true. While the houses come in different sizes, the quality level of the structures, facilities and interior décor remain the same, of the highest quality. Facilities such as clinics, shopping malls, recreational parks, religious centers and all- day- round security give the Estate that complete package that everyone desires. If Real Estate companies like HFAN are given the enabling environment to operate coupled with maximum cooperation from the Government, one can begin to envisage the end to national housing crises. This will ultimately result to improved standard of living across board.

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