The Ivory Coast Blog

Freedom. Stability. Independence. Prosperity.

Ivory Coast’s Real Estate Sector Is Bouncing Back

After some stagnation due to the economic and socio-political roller-coaster rides of the last decade, the real estate industry in Ivory Coast is starting to make a turn for the better.

By Louis S. Amédé, Abidjan From:Les Afrique

If the recent plethora of litigation in real estate was to be equated with consciousness, then one could safely say that this industry is slowly but surely waking up. Certainly, gone are the days when business was booming during the reign of construction companies like SICOGI, Batim-CI, Iprobat, Interbat, Sipim, and SCI Les Rosiers, when buildings sprouted left and right though major programmes and real estate operations for several hundred homes. “If one should take into account the price hikes on construction materials and the actual cost of land which varies between 10,000 F CFA on Adzope and 60 – 70,000 F CFA at the Riviera Golfe so there is much to be done,” explains an executive at the Ministry of Construction and Urbanism. What is lacking, however, is the widespread application of guidelines implemented.

Unlike the previous trend, this real estate renaissance is essentially due to the building of private residences that are popping up like mushrooms and real estate projects initiated by workers’ associations or mutual insurance companies for their members.

Growing needsIndeed, with the relative normalisation of the socio-political landscape, the need for viable property continues to grow. The imbalance between supply and demand that became more and more apparent with each passing year soon impeded efforts to promote building. To alleviate the problem and counteract the proliferation of illegal squatting and precarious neighbourhoods, the Ministry of Construction and Urbanism recently launched an operation “to improve the supply of a wide range of land in urban areas so as to make them more accessible.” The pilot phase of the production mechanism for land, consisting in improving new spaces concerned 50 hectares in the Cocody commune.

Activity bouncing back In an Ivory Coast where having your own roof has become a priority, the new surge in real estate activity is palpable. Unlike the previous trend, this real estate renaissance is essentially due to the building of private residences that are popping up like mushrooms and real estate projects initiated by workers’ associations or mutual insurance companies for their members. For Jean François Kimbe, an expert in Franco-Ivory Coast real estate, “real estate credit in Ivory Coast and France are both “in”. Both countries are similar as far as access to property goes. The number of home owners has increased significantly.

Cheaper Loans More and more real estate loans are costing noticeably less and this is no small factor in the recent buzz in Ivory Coast’s recent real estate boom. Banks are eager to study loan applications with the utmost regard for the applicant. The BIAO (Banque Internationale pour l’Afrique Occidentale) requires that one have a checking account where one receives regular influxes of revenue for them to take on their real estate plans. In addition, it guarantees that it will “find the loan that best suits the applicant’s needs and resources to find a bank”. The Ivory Coast’s Banque pour le Financement de l’Agriculture (Bank for the Financing of Agriculture) has basic conditions that are pretty much the same, reinforced by a few complementary guarantees (proof of funds received from one’s employer in that account, a closed mortgage of 1st or 2nd rank in real estate) grants up to 15 million F CFAs in loans, depending on the applicant.

The only drawback of this new real estate boom is that the trend clearly favours high-end properties and not low-income housing. So, in Ivory Coast, the average consumer still has a way to go before having a roof of his own.

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July 9, 2008 - Posted by | Economomic Issues | ,

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