Buildings carrying (To Let) signs in Abuja.
The number of empty property in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, especially in the high brow areas is on the increase as a result of the present state of the country’s economy.
Daily Trust investigation shows that high brow areas that house the nation’s big wigs such as Asokoro, Maitama, Wuse II and Jabi district have a high number of unoccupied houses.
But the big question is why they remain un-occupied despite their prime location and beauty.
Driving round these areas, one will observe a number of houses in one street carrying the “TO LET” banner which indicates that the owners have put it up for either rent or lease.
An Abuja based property agent, Abbas Suleiman, explains that most of the houses are vacant because people cannot pay the high amount attached to them. “A duplex goes for about N3.5- N4 million per annum while a 3 bedroom semi-detached flat goes for N2.5 million; 2 bedroom for 1.5 million while one bedroom goes for N700, N800 thousand”
Suleiman also attributed the low demand for such high end property to the insistence of some owners to collect 2 year rent at once.
“Most of the landlords don’t care if the houses remain empty or not because they are extremely rich,” he said.
He says the current economic situation has affected the abilities of most tenants to pay rent as and when due.
“I know of a family that recently moved out of a three bedroom semi-detached apartment in Wuse 2 as they couldn’t afford to pay their rent, they moved to their own apartment which was yet to be completed at Lokogoma district.
Up till now, the house is still vacant as no tenant has shown any interest in taking up the apartment,” he said.
In Asokoro, which connects to the new Guzampe extension with beautiful architecture and serenity, a lot of houses remained unoccupied.
Just like the other high brow areas in the city there are several new houses with fantastic architectural designs on display for rent. A guard in one of the houses who did not want his name mentioned told Daily Trust that the 5 bedroom duplex with two boy’s quarters has been emptied for quite a while now.
“There are lots of empty houses in this area even though they have been put for rent. A duplex of 4 rooms can go for about 4 million naira while 3 bedroom flats which are normally semi detached apartment go for 1.8- 2 million naira, a 2 bed room goes for 1.3- 1.5 million while a self-contained room here is about 300 thousand naira,” he said.
When asked why most of the empty apartments are still not occupied, he said most owners don’t really care whether the houses are empty or not.
“These people don’t care if the houses remain occupied, because they have several of them in different areas of the city,” he added.
At the Jabi and Utako districts of Abuja, Daily Trust also observed that even though most of the houses are not new, there are many empty apartments along the streets. A security man who identified himself as Clement guarding an empty duplex that has a “TO LET” inscription explained that the owner of the house wants a payment of two years on a stretch amounting to 9 million naira. He added that although people have shown interest in the house but always leave whenever they are confronted with 2 years upfront payment.
“Nine million naira is not easy to get these days and the landlord doesn’t really care if the house remains empty. This house has been like this for almost two years now we have several of them here,” he said.
He said that it was the owner who used to live in the apartment with his family but later relocated abroad and since then nobody has been able to afford the rent being demanded.