In the last 12 months, Nigerians have referred to the economic situation as very daunting, especially for new renters in Lagos. With inflation surging over 20% in August 2022, the economic climate has not been very favourable for most low to middle-income earners in Nigeria. As the rising cost of goods and services continues to drive people to spend more in exchange for fewer items, Nigerians are constantly looking out for opportunities to cut down their expenses.
One way we have seen this play out is in regard to new leases. Over the last half year, our interaction with real estate agents in Lagos has shown that existing tenants who before now considered moving to new apartments are reconsidering. The reasons for this move seem obvious. Cost! When we dug deeper, we found out that moving at this time can cost you almost twice what it would take to continue in your current space, and prospective renters have come to this realization. But why is this?
If you are looking to rent a new apartment, it is most likely that you will spend 20% more for the same type of apartment in the same location than you would have one year ago. For tenants who have stayed long in their old apartment, the percentage increase will likely be more than that. Where the apartment is newer, especially with modern amenities, the additional premium being charged by Developers and Landlords can go as high as 30% or more, depending on the location. When considered holistically, this additional rental burden is a major discouragement for people looking to relocate or move into newer apartments.
Agency commission, legal fees and caution deposits can cost as much as 50% of the rent.
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In most parts of the world, traditional estate agents’ fees range from 0.5% to 5%, depending on the value of the transaction and negotiating power of the parties. In the UK, for instance, the range is 0.75% to 3% according to MoveWise, a UK-based real estate advisor. In the US, the commission is usually between 4% to 6%. Across most African cities, the percentage is higher and can range between 5% and 10%. We have found that for residential rentals, especially of less than ₦10m value, most agents usually insist on a 10% agency commission. In some locations around Lagos, they can go as high as 20% for rental properties of less than a million. In addition to this, a 10% legal fee is usually mandatory, and some landlords can charge as high as 20% extra as a caution deposit. The impact of this is that it shoots up the total amount that prospective tenants end up paying for new leases, and has been a major discouraging factor for most prospects.
The additional hassle of moving and settling in can be very daunting in busy Lagos
Relocation costs can make things worse, but outside the financial cost, the hassle that comes with it wears out quite a number of people. Based on a sample relocation cost quote we got from Packmyload and a number of other Nigerian-based logistics companies, it costs a minimum of ₦150,000 to move furnishing items in a 2-bedroom apartment in Ikeja to Lekki Phase 1. Judging from the average rental price data that we are currently tracking Lekki Phase 1, this means that a prospective renter will need to pay between 5% and 10% of the rent on logistics.
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When considered individually, these costs may be insignificant but can sum up to almost the same amount that a prospective tenant is paying as rent, or even more. What has been your experience with renting a new apartment in Lagos? Share with us by sending a DM or commenting on our social media handles.
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