Premier Developers JV Company – “Pioneering the Real Estate Sector in Liberia”

Recently it was a great opportunity for a team of GNN-Liberia reporters to visit the Premier Estate located on the Monrovia/Robertsfield Highway beautifully designed by a group of Liberian professional builders.

The ideal put forward to many local and international tourists or those wishing to stay in Liberia is, if you want to invest your money in real estate in Liberia, considered buying properties at PREMIER ESTATE in Paynesville (www.premierhomesliberia.com). You might hesitate with the belief that Liberia may not be a profitable when it comes to real estate investment. There was a time when this was a common perception of Liberia due to war and instability. Even a few years ago, the country only managed to attract huge investments in the mining, agriculture and oil sectors, thanks to ten years of peace and democratic governance. However, today’s reality is different – the real estate sector is taking off in Liberia.

This country, with its vast amount of space, is full of potential. Land is comparatively cheaper and building materials and labor are inexpensive, but of high quality. In fact, many Western, European and Asian companies have already invested money in some form of real estate, most of which are renovated residential properties, new retail or commercial construction with extended lease tenure.

Liberia is considered a transition economy with developing market in the real estate sector. Therefore, the sector is becoming the prime focus of real estate developers and investors. The economic condition in Liberia and neighboring countries are also improving, with diaspora citizens becoming increasingly interested in returning home and investing money in property.

In 2013, Global Real Estate Institute (GRI) hosted its first African GRI conference in Nairobi, Kenya. International real estate developers expressed their interest in investing money in Africa’s real estate sector and also pointed out some current issues, such as a shortage of financial organizations and an underdeveloped infrastructure in some countries. What does that mean for the Liberian real estate sector?

The buying market is changing with international and private sector funds. Liberian private equity and real estate funds are becoming the significant players. Getting a home loan in Liberia is not easy, as there is a lack of long-term mortgage financing. However, thanks to the Central Bank of Liberia for infusing mortgage funding through Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI), a growing number of home buyers are entering the market, bringing liquidity to the sector, allowing the real estate market to constantly develop.

There is also a huge opportunity for investors looking for new frontiers in the rental market. Rent is quite high for decent properties in secured environments which are owned by local private real estate players. Investment in single family homes in a secured infrastructure development presents a clear option with the solution to urbanization. The country is very rich in natural resources, with a great amount to offer the world economy. It is fundamental that investors and developers do not overlook the abundance of opportunities in real estate and construction in Liberia.

Furthermore, the long-term growth of Liberia’s economy will be lifted by internal social and demographic trends, particularly Liberia’s new tech savvy growing labor force and the related rise of the middle class consumers. These are consumer-facing industries (such as retail, telecommunications and banking), infrastructure related industries, agriculture and resources.

Meanwhile, Liberia continues to experience an increase in demand for real estate solutions in a very complex structure of emerging regional markets. Construction in these locations is booming and some retailers and property developers who have been eyeing these growth trends have made an early entry into these real estate markets. The thrust of it all is rapid urbanization, consumerism and a growing middle-class, demand for space, (residential and commercial). The backlog of formal upmarket retail developments will require new architecture designs and locations. There will be demand for new developments mostly comprising Grade A offices, shopping malls, theme parks and recreational facilities.

Similarly, there is a need for the nation’s workforce to deploy and re-deploy in response to employment opportunities. The market for housing facilitates geographical mobility of

labour. An efficient market offers households choices as to the type of accommodation,tenure, and conditions of occupancy. If households wish to own their accommodation, the market should also provide access to the means of financing this. As a result activity in the residential market is widely regarded as an important barometer of a country’s economic prosperity and is a useful indicator of the health of the economy as a whole.

Jefferson Bates is General Manager for PREMIER DEVELOPERS JV COMPANY
and can be reached at: jefferson@premierhomesliberia.com or visit: www.premierhomesliberia.com

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