The founder and CEO of Octo5 Holdings Limited, Jide Odusolu, in this exclusive chat with TUNDE OGUNTOLA, explained how the firm is championing innovation in the real estate industry in Nigeria aimed at providing affordable housing.
Affordability continues to be a major limiting factor to home ownership at the bottom of the income pyramid in Nigeria. Apparently motivated by a conviction that home ownership is crucial in building a quality lifestyle, Octo5 Holdings Limited prioritises every step of the development process from concept origination through to completion and hand-over in its bid to deliver a quality and cost-efficient home.
Odusola said the firm was established as a leading player in Nigeria, adding that Octo5 Holdings brings both affordable and middle-income developments to market and nurture them into inclusive occupied communities.
On the challenges bedeviling the real estate growth in Nigeria, he said the Nigerian real estate sector is possibly the largest and probably most transformational remaining piece of the puzzle to unlocking wealth for the average Nigerian.
Odusolu said the sector with over $900 billion in dead capital, as stated by PWC and minimum annual GDP share of $50 billion remains largely unstructured, under-funded, and true demand outstrips supply.
He also stressed the need for developers to be customer-centric. He said the inefficiencies in the sector coupled with massive bureaucratic obstacles have combined to create gaps.
Odusolu said the philosophy of the firm is to use real estate as a tool for economic emancipation.
According to him, “We believe that as more Nigerians become real investors in the Nigerian economy, the system will of necessity become better. That vision is what has propelled us to date.
“Octo5 is a twenty-one-year-old development company, founded in 1997 with an unbroken operation since 2000. Before now, we were called Legacy Realties Limited. Our dream was premised on that age-old African tradition where ”a man is deemed successful when he can afford his own ‘hut’ and owns his patch or farm.”
“Today, the average person strives to meet the modern version of that aspiration, and we exist to assist the goal.
“Our name Octo5 was derived from the imagery of the Octopus (with its several tentacles) while the five represents our five-core business focus areas – residential and commercial developments, construction, utility management, and technology solutions.
People erroneously assume it has to do with my birthday which is a rather fortuitous coincidence.”
Odusolu said as a cerebral person, his concepts are birthed via a high degree of introspection before moving into intense strategic reviews with our design teams.
“My colleagues over the years now know that I abide by two codes: nothing is impossible, and all ideas are subject to continuous improvement.
“The transition into a truly digital world is exciting to me. I am excited by the endless possibilities and transformation it has created in Africa.
“In recent times, our goal has been to trigger industry-wide change using technology. We are also heavily invested in using new solutions for old real estate problems.”
Ge said the firm has two owned estates located in the Lekki axis of Lagos, Nigeria, with over three hundred and fifty homes delivered and occupied by working professionals across several industries.
“Most of our projects are designed to attract middle-income earners with as low as $350,000 or N150,000 in monthly disposable income and enable them to become property investors.
“We have affordable homes priced from $10,000 to $30,000 located in peri-urban centres; from $40,000 to $100,000 for affordable luxury (classic homes) and above $130,000 for premium homes. All our homes are developed and delivered in fully serviced urban communities that offer good yields for the owners and investors.
He said the blast-known initiatives of the firm are its flagship estate located in Lekki, Lagos State called Ocean Bay Estate and our recent technology products.
“We are often amazed that Ocean Bay, which is one of the older and earlier communities developed in the Lekki axis of Lagos State remains highly contemporary and very popular with the market.
“Our ‘stow’ app which is a mobile and web-enabled digital marketplace that makes buying and trading ownership of off-plan or new-build homes intuitively easier, is enjoying market reception,” he said.
He added that the firm would be launching two major initiatives by Q4 of 2021. The first is a new town development in Abuja, adding that the second is a private urban-city resort on the Lekki Peninsula.
On how the firm is championing innovation in the construction industry, he said the firm is one the leading pioneers in the industry and one of the very first developers that introduced flexible home purchase plans in the early 2000s.
“We also introduced many other innovations, including the use of formworks to fast-track construction. As a company, we are committed to a constant process of innovative evolution, and our goal is to develop smart green cities across Africa.
“Data, knowledge, and information are critical to success in the real estate sub-sector. We have a team of brilliant analysts who ensure that we can avoid unpleasant surprises while constantly innovating and introducing new solutions for the industry.
“Capacity building through technology and manpower development is a major gap that we are exploring partnerships to address. We are hoping to create a minimum of 100,000 jobs within the next year through our planned skills enhancement programs.
“Secondly, long-term finance or patient capital is a major need for our goal of delivering 10,000 homes within a short period across Nigeria. In conjunction with our financial advisors, our goal is to raise a minimum of US$100m within the next year to drive these goals.
“We have grown through self-discipline, divine favour, and a process of calculated self-disruption. We are constantly reinvesting in our product offerings, and we have a five-year growth plan in our goal to become the largest developer in sub-Saharan Africa.”
Odusolu said the firm is planning to make ‘stow’ the leading platform for new-build homes In Nigeria and intend to expand to other African countries.
He said, “We plan to be the largest developer in sub-Saharan Africa and the largest youth enabler and employer in Africa.
“We see real estate as a tool for economic empowerment. As such, we select peri-urban locations with a high probability for minimum capital appreciation of 200 per cent within a four-year period.
“Our track record has been near excellent across both public and private sector development initiatives.
“Nigeria’s real estate sector is a blue ocean of opportunities. However, our key difference is the clear segment focus and creation of inclusive fully serviced communities that enjoy organic growth and increase in capital values.”
However, he said the devaluation of the Naira has impacted the earning capacity of a significant part of our clientele.
“We expect the ongoing recovery to continue, and we are bullish on the growth prospects as we move into 2022,” he added.
Speaking further, he said the firm’s project managers and developers ensure that unmatched standards of high-quality architecture, materials, and finishing, combined with flawlessly landscaped surroundings, are reflected in every project.