Munachi Okoye: Whilst Nigerian low to middle end market in the area of residential retail estate was still buoyant, and in many ways sustaining the market as a whole, there was still a huge demand for quality space capable of attracting an international audience.
Real estate prospects remain challenging in Nigeria
Munachi Okoye was educated in both Nigeria and the United Kingdom, first receiving a degree in Architecture and Environmental Sciences from Lagos University and then later a Master’s degree in International Securities, Investment and Banking from Reading University in England.
Munachi Okoye founded MCO Real Estate Limited in 2010 having relocated back to Nigeria in 2008. Prior to this he spent 15 years working in the financial sector in Europe and the United Kingdom, gaining a vast amount of experience in specialty assets, focusing on the acquisition, analysis, management, financing and disposition of assets capable of producing an income in areas including commercial offices, retail, leisure, hospitality and residential real estate.
Whilst working as a Commercial Property Investment Manager in the United Kingdom he was accountable for the financial structuring of over £2Bn, for the developments of both London Euston and London Victoria railway stations.
Following his relocation to Nigeria in 2008 and prior to founding MCO Real Estate Limited, he was the Head of Principal Investments at Diamond Capital & Financial Markets. His responsibilities included private equity transactions and the structuring of multiple real estate projects, including infrastructure.
MCO Real Estate Limited
MCO is a real estate advisory and investment company which focuses on both structured finance and investments for real estate opportunities. They work with both investors and developers, local and international, providing research and analysis across a whole range of property investments including low-income housing development, residential apartments, hotels, commercial offices, oil & gas storage depots and retail shopping centers.
During a recent interview about Nigeria’s real estate prospects in Q1, Munachi Okoye stated that whilst the low to middle end market in the area of residential retail estate was still buoyant, and in many ways sustaining the market as a whole, there was still a huge demand for quality space capable of attracting an international audience, including Blue Chip tenants.
The challenges in the high end market, including a number of large retailers pulling out of the country having found that the expected middle income spending had not materialized, continue to be significant. Modern retailers are however still arriving in the country but there is now a trend towards smaller sized malls and mixed use projects; merging retail, hotels and offices in one location.
Smaller malls are however seen by some of the larger investors as having a greater risk especially due to the high demand for Class A land. A number of businesses are therefore moving out of Lagos seeking opportunities in secondary markets, this is resulting in a number of modern retailers relocating into the countries secondary cities.
Rental income made in dollars, in mixed use spaces continues to offer the least risk to investors over the coming years.
There is also an increasingly high demand for Logistics and out of town Office parks where the land is cheaper, this is therefore expected to become a big market in the coming years.
When asked about the impact the current interest rates of 25% were having on the real estate sector, he agreed that it was making it more difficult, and whilst investors were still coming, they do not like working with local banks. There has therefore been a growth in the presence of joint ventures, with land owners and developers joining up to reduce the risk to their capital investment.
He also acknowledged that Q2 was unlikely to be significantly different to Q1, he said that whilst it is always a cycle, the end of the down cycle was not here yet. He went on to say, we need to “baton down the hatches” as there is “no room for excess”. He concluded by saying that Nigeria needs to take the approach of “boil lower for longer” so that we “emerge, when it is time to emerge, and be in a stronger position”