Restoring real estate market efficiency through adequate regularisation of land profession in Nigeria

Land as an economic base for production comprises rights or bundle of interest which can be exchanged between parties operating willingly and knowledgeably in the land market. The potential to generate income from real estate investments on land have attracted to a large extent the desire of different actors such as estate surveyor and valuers, estate agents, developers and lawyers to transact in the land markets.

The convergence of these operators from multi-disciplinary background in the land market with the singular objective to secure maximum returns have given rise to ethical issues which have created difficulties in the real estate business. In developing countries, the dearth of qualified and trained professionals to handle unique property management task have resulted to a high level of incompetency emanating from the incursion of quacks into the land profession. The unwholesome practices undertaken by these quacks have over time led to the loss of public confidence and trust in the services of real estate practitioners in Nigeria.

The unregulated and unorganized nature of the land market in Nigeria is one major issue contending with market efficiency and needs to be reasonably addressed through the implementation of relevant laws recognizing the role of trained professionals having the expertise to plan, control and manage real estate decisions in the land market. Estate surveyors and valuers as land economist trained in the field of Real Estate Management (REM) have by the virtue of continuous education and professional training acquire practical experience in areas of core competence such as the valuation of land and buildings along with plant, equipment and machinery (PEM) for diverse purposes. 

Other functions critical to economic development include adequate property management skills involving marketing, tenant selection, lease arrangement and rent administration. The exposure of trained estate surveyors and valuers to the dynamics of land market makes their input and services valid in comparison with other professionals having little or no knowledge about the peculiarity of real estate investment as well as the ethical standards governing the practice.

The Estate Surveyors and Valuers Registration Board of Nigeria (ESVARBON) as the prominent regulatory institution charged with the responsibility of monitoring and coordinating professional practice in Nigeria have in several occasions raised alarm concerning multiple challenges emerging from the unregulated land market mostly influenced by the activities of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) which registers estate agency practice as common business venture. 

The irregularity of the Corporate Affairs Commission should be properly checked in order to facilitate efficiency in land market operation. Actors from other disciplines who do not possess the required standard of education and professional training in estate management should be restricted from undertaking real estate functions unless they attain the necessary skills required to practice from recognized academic and professional institutions.

The efficiency in land market operation will be best optimised through the engagement of qualified real estate practitioners in decision-making process of managing land and landed resources in the society. Professional services to be obtained from estate surveyors and valuers would restore the confidence of the public as regarding land transaction. National economic development will be attained when real estate practice is built on professional integrity and competence. 

The regularisation of land market operation accompanied with sound monitoring will reduce the growing incompetency in Nigerian real estate sector. The government should work assiduously towards restructuring the land market by enforcing suitable policies geared towards monitoring the quality of professional practice as regarding ethics and code of conduct.

Ekundayo Ezekiel A. Ajala,

Suite C11, Second Floor, Fodio Plaza, Western Bye Pass, Minna, Niger state 

[email protected]