The relative peace observed in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State, after more than a decade of Boko Haram insurgency, triggered a sudden boom in the property market.
The state capital has witnessed a hive of construction activity, including construction of homes, schools, hospitals and vocational training centers by federal and state governments, development partners , non-governmental organizations, investors, business groups, government officials, individuals, including traders, artisans, among others.
Many new developments have sprung up in different parts of the metropolis, new housing estates adorning the landscape.
This has created a value chain for stakeholders including building engineers, architects, masons, laborers, owners of block industries, traders of cement and other building materials, landlords, real estate agents as well as auctioneers making bricks in Maiduguri.
But residents have lamented rising rents and house prices, saying the market boom has not had a positive impact on the common man.
A building engineer from Maiduguri, Engr Modu Goni Isa, attributed the growth of real estate business in Maiduguri to the body language of the state’s outgoing governor.
“The massive construction of houses and other public structures as well as the reconstruction of government and public structures have triggered the silent transformation of Maiduguri city which has encouraged the people of the state to invest in the construction of houses. Many Borno natives have preferred to invest in building houses due to insecurity as we can build to sell and make a profit or build and rent which you can recoup your capital in a few years as the market is booming in Maiduguri “, did he declare. noted.
Alhaji Shariff Adam Gwano, popularly known as Mai Glass, is the Chairman of Land Auctioneers in Borno State, and he said the increase in building construction in Borno betrays the impact devastating insecurity on the people of the state.
He said the real estate sector has flourished now under the insurgency more than in peacetime.
“Our real estate market is even more flourishing than in the past. If you go to areas like 122 Estate, 159 Estate, Galtimari and other new developments, you barely count 10 houses that are not new buildings,” the president said.
He, however, lamented the rising cost of building materials, which he said has, in turn, affected house prices and rents.
For his part, the Alhaji Lawan Baaji, popularly known as Lawan Guye, said the restoration of peace in Maiduguri was responsible for huge investments in the state’s built environment.
“During the height of the Boko Haram insurgency, many residents of Maiduguri, especially wealthy people, moved to other major cities in some northern states and Abuja, but with the intervention of Allah and the efforts of the government, peace has been restored”.
“Today, people from different states of the country travel to Maiduguri for their business without fear of insurgent attacks. If you look at the eastern and western parts of Maiduguri, there has been rapid development. When you travel to the southern and northern parts of the city, the development is beyond imagination and this development is not just for the people of the city.
“But despite the fact that we have vast lands, Real estate in Maiduguri is more expensive than other cities in the North except for Abuja. The reason houses are expensive in Maiduguri is because everyone wants to live in the heart of the city. Rich people don’t want to go out of town to build houses and many people want to get land or house in GRA. There are new GRAs created by the government, but people still prefer the old GRA,” he said.
He added that another reason why house prices have skyrocketed is that some privileged people are building modern houses and even buying old ones and rebuilding them in contemporary styles.
“A house of 50 meters by 100 meters in the old GRA costs more than 20 million naira,” he said.
A block industry owner in the Bulunkutu district of the metropolis, Mustapha Tijjani Ahmed, corroborated that the boom in the market is having a ripple effect.
“Recently we have witnessed a high footfall of customers buying blocks and other materials. I believe that the return of peace to Maiduguri is responsible for the increase in the construction of properties and we are grateful to Allah for the restoration of peace,” he added.
A building materials trader in Maiduguri, Mr. Ukwudili Ibeh, also attributed this trend to the relative peace prevailing in Maiduguri.
“It is true that the real estate market is growing in Maiduguri and we thank God for the return of a new life full of economic opportunities,” he said.
Meanwhile, residents of the Maiduguri metropolis have decried rising house rents despite massive house building in the capital.
A resident of Gamboru area, Usman Goni, said rising house rents had become a cause for concern.
“The increase in house rents which doubled the previous rate has put us in a difficult position and has compounded our difficulties given the austere socio-economic realities. The trend has forced low-income people and poor families to squeeze their children into smaller rooms in parts of Maiduguri. We call on the state government to step in to provide affordable housing to the masses,” he said. noted.
Another resident, Danladi Ibrahim, said the housing boom has not impacted the lives of ordinary people; only the privileged have benefited from the development as rising house rents in Maiduguri have put the common people on edge.
“My income has not increased, but the rent for my house has increased by more than 70%. We pray that the government does something about this to alleviate the suffering of the poor,” Ibrahim said.
Responding to the rise in rents, the Chairman of Landlords and Estate Agents, Lawan Guye, attributed the rise to the influx of people in Maiduguri, in particular displaced persons and persons from neighboring States.
“The number of people moving to Maiduguri has increased and the cost of building houses has also skyrocketed and anyone who spends their money to build a house also has to increase the rent to get their money back and get their profit. A two-bedroom apartment is rented for up to N500,000 in some areas and depending on the quality of the buildings,” he said.