Despite an increase in private sector investments in the Nigerian real estate industry, the country’s housing deficit keeps getting worse.

Nigeria, with an adult population in excess of 100 million, has a homeownership rate below 30% which is one of the poorest large economies. The number of Adult Nigerians living in sub-standard homes is in excess of 50% in urban and peri-urban areas.

With the housing shortfall in major cities in Nigeria exceeding 5 million homes, and Lagos, in particular, having the greatest shortfall, Octo5 Holdings Limited, a Lagos-based real estate development company on Tuesday launched a demand aggregation platform, in order to bridge the housing supply gap in the country.

During a virtual conference, “The Octo5 Discourse” themed: Homeownership — the key to economic freedom, the company addressed issues and homebuyers concerns that impede real estate investments in Nigeria.

According to the company, STOW is a web and app-enabled home purchase platform for off-plan and new build homes provided by proven real estate developers. The platform enables prospective homeowners to reserve/subscribe to homes in existing and upcoming communities while making monthly payments over a defined period to take ownership of such homes at completion.

With STOW, prospective subscribers can evaluate projects, subscribe to chosen ones, track their payments, monitor project progress and if desired, exercise an option to convert their purchases to mortgage homes.

While speaking during the event, Jide Odusolu, CEO of Octo5 said that,

“STOW is the next step in our continued quest to enable hardworking Nigerians to attain the freedom of becoming homeowners and gaining economic empowerment. The twin challenge that stops many from buying properties in planned communities with good title are the need for payment flexibility and fear of non-performance. STOW creates a defined method for payments via installments and project tracking through the app.”

Odusolu added that STOW enables users to save as low as N50,000 monthly towards purchasing their dream homes. “What we have done is to remove a major barrier to entry that discourages Nigerians from aspiring to become homeowners. Until we unlock the latent wealth in the informal sector, Nigeria will not grow.”

According to him, STOW creates access to the property with a good title and high-income prospects which can serve as both first homes and investment property and trade capital with the goal of setting every working Nigerian free economically, starting with building assets that can be leveraged.

Rogba Orimalade, a chartered surveyor and valuer, during a fireside chat, identified the emerging locations and key places to invest in real estate in Lagos, namely Badagry, Epe, and Ikorodu, citing the locations as surrounded by water with the potential for commercial jetties.

Also speaking during the event was Mr Madu Hamman, MD/CEO Abbey Mortgage Bank PLC who said that the bank was excited to partner with Octo5 to demonstrate its commitment to the development of the real estate industry in Nigeria and indeed Africa.

“We are repositioning ourselves and redesigning our products to encourage people to save consistently towards owning a home,” (while) reinforcing “our mission to make dreams come true as well as create a paradigm shift in Africa’s vast real estate market.”

The STOW platform, which is available as a web app and on Android and iOS, is expected to digitize home ownership in Nigeria.