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Title: The commercial real estate investment market in Lagos, Nigeria : an institutional economics analysis
Author: Agboola, Alirat Olayinka
ISNI:       0000 0004 5366 6922
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2015
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Globalization of real estate investments have revealed an increased desire by investors to operate outside their domestic markets. The removal of barriers to international capital movement and liberalisation of financial markets have made cross-border property investments an attractive alternative for investors, as they take advantage of its diversification potential thus spreading their risks. However, international real estate investment entails venturing into the unknown, where there are unfamiliar political and economic environments. Each property market has its rules, business culture and networks, while experience in one market may not translate well to another. This is because the institutions of a market impinge on market outcomes and behaviour by generating transaction costs which weigh against the returns on investment assets, while these costs may affect domestic versus foreign investors differently. Also, the peculiar nature of real estate, for example heterogeneity and asymmetric information makes it a particularly illiquid asset class. The time element of illiquidity represents an important risk to investors because it exposes them to an extended period of uncertainty. Illiquidity in turn makes real estate an asset specific investment as it calls for the input of intermediaries who utilize their extensive knowledge of the market to facilitate transactions. This makes intermediation an essential requirement for successful investment, as intermediaries introduce asset specific knowledge to the investor to promote liquidity and attenuate risk. However, intermediation imposes an additional transaction cost on investors as it is the price paid for immediacy of the transaction. It is therefore argued that the institutional environment of a real estate market not only underpins market structures and behaviour, but also the inherent characteristic of the asset which calls for the need for intermediation further informs the structures of the market through which commercial real estate is traded. Therefore, an understanding of the wider institutional environment of a real estate market is not only important, but also an understanding of the intermediation structure and associated costs which informs market processes is expedient for successful international real estate investment. This study investigates the institutions through which the commercial real estate investment market in Lagos, Nigeria operates. It offers a new and holistic framework for understanding how the institutions of a market influence its operation in terms of the associated transaction costs, particularly in the context of an emerging real estate market. The study adopts a combined Northian and Williamsonian Transaction Cost Economics theoretical framework and employs a qualitative research approach to achieve the objectives of the study. This involves semi-structured interviews with key market players and a process of thematic analyses of the interviews. Findings show that the Land Use Act of 1978 and the indigenous landholding system form the major formal and informal institutions governing the operation of the market respectively. Findings further reveal that transaction costs associated with the formal institution of the market at 15% of assessed property value and additional intermediation cost of between 2.5% and 5% of the property price, are high when compared to the developed market of the UK, for example. Also, while the formal institutions of the market do not affect foreign and domestic investors differently, findings show that the informal institutions and specifically the associated transaction costs do. An implication of the poor enforcement of the formal rule of the market is the increasing informality in the market and consequent difficulty of securing debt financing and high interest rate due to poor evidence of title. The study recommends a review of the key formal institution of the market to remove its ambiguities and eliminate the omo-onile phenomenon which is a negative transformation of the indigenous landholding system, and of which the perpetrators behave opportunistically, exploiting loopholes in poorly written formal law, thus generating transaction costs embedded in informal institutions of land rights.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Commonwealth Scholarship Commission
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Real estate investment ; Commercial real estate