These times are not really the best for professionals and housing market in Sango Ota, gateway to Ogun State, as the once vibrant town has seen property values decline by over 60 per cent due to the deplorable state of roads in the area.
The development has impacted negatively on rapid economic development, housing growth and land prices. For instance, rents have dropped significantly by over 50 per cent while vacancy rate has continued to rise.
Sango Ota corridor, especially along the Lagos – Abeokuta expressway had been in a sorry state over two-years with residents and travellers having a bitter experience, especially during rainy season.
The roads are riddled with potholes while motorists spend longer hours to navigate the axis and oftentimes at the mercy of miscreants, who take advantage of the dilapidated infrastructure to exploit road users.
The bad condition of roads have also contributed to incidents of robbery and accidents. A journey from Oshodi to Sango Ota, which should take less than one hour, now takes three or more.
The situation has affected the popular Sango Ota industrial estates, which used to be a beehive of activities. Some companies had moved their operations as reports indicate that bad roads in Nigeria have caused a yearly loss amounting to over N135 billion.
A recent visit to the Sango Ota area showed that some property owners are abandoning their properties while others are forced to bear the brunt of the terrible traffic and absence of infrastructure.
“Once I come to my office on Sunday, I don’t go back home until Friday. My vehicle is now my wardrobe. Most landlords are regretting having their buildings here. It is terrible,” Johnson Lawal, who works in one of the factories, said.
Estate surveyors revealed that the property market, which was gradually picking is now on its way down. Transactions are becoming slow and tenants are hard to find in some areas due to lack of access roads.
An estate surveyor and valuer, Mr. Iyun Festus said that many of houses along the corridor are 80 per cent owner-occupiers and commercial properties are worst hit.
Festus said tenants have been moving out from the area to other locations that have better roads. “People no longer use their vehicles, businesses and economy along that corridor have been badly affected.
“During the rainy season, man hours are wasted. When you leave the corridor for Ikeja, ordinarily, it should take between 40 to 45 minutes but now it takes three to four hours. Manpower wasted would run to millions of naira.”
Festus said: “I have a rental property along that corridor. In the building, we have about six mini-flats. Before now, if a tenant moves out, another one will pack in immediately. For the past two years, three people moved out and till today, we are yet to find tenants.”
According to him, “the vacancy rate is about 70 per cent of lettable properties. I have six properties that are 50 per cent vacant. One landlord gave us 16 flats a year ago, we haven’t rented a single flat.”
He disclosed that retail outlets and industrial warehouses have also been affected. Shops along the corridor have been closed, as people can’t access the areas.
The immediate past chairman, Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), Ogun State chapter, Mr. Sally Shobanjo, said poor state of the roads has impacted negatively on property transactions.
“Even the internal roads in Ota are not in good shape. Whenever it rains, everywhere is flooded due to poor drainage systems, which affects property values.”
According to him, a yearly rent for three-bedroom flat in Ota that used to be between N500, 000 and N450, 000 has depreciated to N350, 000.
“If the infrastructure, especially roads are fixed and economy is better managed, there could be hope for the property market in Sango Ota,” he said.