In a desperate bid to raise funds ahead of February 2015 general elections, politicians seeking or sponsoring candidates for elective posts have started selling their property in major cities of the country such as Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt.
Investigation by PUNCH revealed that the development had crashed property market value as the politicians reduced the cost of their property by between 50 percent and 100 percent just to raise money for campaign.
In Rivers State, a Port Harcourt-based estate practitioner, who simply identified himself as Nonye, confirmed to our correspondent that many property, especially those in Old GRA, had been put up for sale by some politicians.
According to him, there has been a sharp increase in the sale of property by politicians, who ostensibly need money to woo voters for support.
According to him, the politicians’ desperation to sell their property began in August, 2014 and peaked the following month.
Nonye said, “There are many politicians who are selling their property. While some of the property have already been sold, others are still waiting to be sold. The rush to sell the property started in August and increased in October, 2014. These property are owned by politicians. The property are mostly in Old GRA and New GRA in Port Harcourt.
“One of the governorship aspirants sold one of his property while a former governor has sold about three of his houses to support a politician that is currently seeking election.
“The politicians selling their property cut across the Peoples Democratic Party and the All Progressives Congress.
“One of the governorship aspirants also put up his eight plots of land for sale in the Old GRA and an aspirant from Andoni Local Government Area has offered to sell a duplex in the New GRA.”
On the value of the property on sale, Nonye explained that while a two-story building could go as high as between N250m and N300m in a high-brow area like New and Old GRA, the same property could go for between N20m and N50m in other areas.
Another estate agent, Bright Osakwe, told Punch that more property were currently put on sale than in 2013.
Bright said estate agents observed that most of the property that were currently on sale belonged to top politicians.
According to him, some of the property go for as high as between N50m and N60m depending on the size and quality of the building.
He said most of the politicians have their buildings in places like GRA, Ada George and Shell Industrial Area.
Bright noted that the politicians would not show up to negotiate with would-be buyers until they were sure that serious customers had indicated interest in acquiring the property.
He said, “The politicians are selling their property now compared to what it used to be two years ago. We noticed an increase in the level of property that are put up for sales, though the politicians don’t show up until a buyer shows serious interest in buying such property. The property are mostly houses and you are aware that when you buy the building, the land follows it.
“Some of the buildings owned by politicians that have been put up for sale are around Ada George, Old GRA and Shell Industrial Area. Some buildings owned by these politicians are also located on D-Line. While some are put up for sale at N50m and N55m for one story building, others place the price of their property at N60m depending on the location, size and quality of the property. In fact, you can see property of N25m. It depends on the size and location.”
Real estate agents in Abuja said that a lot of buildings had being offered for sale but there were “no buyers.”
The Chairperson, Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria, FCT Chapter, Mrs. Binta Ibrahim, said the coming elections were a major reason for the fall in prices of buildings in the nation’s capital.
She said, “The issue has to do with the economy, but politicians equally are selling their property. So, I will say it is both ways; the economy and the next general elections.
“If you go round Abuja, you will see that a lot of property are put up for sale, even those that are being put up for rent, people are not patronising the developers and owners.
“With the approaching elections, and the less circulation of funds as before, the politicians are desperate to come back and they have to sell off their property. So, if you look at it from the investors’ angle, you will see that the investors now have a good deal because of the way politicians are selling their estates at give-away prices.”
Speaking also on the development, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Woods and Bricks Limited, Mr. Andy Elerewe, cited an instance where a politician from one of the northern states placed one of his houses up for sale and dropped the price by over 100 per cent but still could not find a buyer.
He said, “Somebody has a property to sell in Maitama, Abuja. As at about a year ago, he was saying he would sell the property at N1.4bn, but last November, the man said he was ready to sell the same property for N600m. And we have not even seen people who will buy the property.
“The man is interested in contesting in the next general elections. I can confirm to you that the elections are really making politicians to drop prices of their property.”