The number of ‘To-let’ boards, which only recently doted the streets of Port Harcourt City and its environs seems to have drastically reduced in the last few months.
A look at a residential areas which had a lot of vacant apartments and flats are now occupied.
A player in the built industry, Hamilton Udo has attributed the trend to a number of reasons which include improved economy.
Udo, a Port Harcourt-based Estate Surveyor and Valuer, said “the improved economic situation has encouraged developers who previously abandoned their project site have now moved back to complete the projects and are willing to reduce rents and so those who previously could not afford to live in the city centre can now find affordable places to live in”.
He also noted that property owners now operate flexible rent regions , explaining that they are willing to review the rents downwards or maintain the old rent in order to not to lose their existing tenants.
He said, “take for instance in GRA, some of the properties I manage still have the same tenants in them because I advised the owners not to increase the rent as it is difficult to get new tenants these days. The market is not vibrant so landlords have to significantly drop rents to maintain existing tenants or risk having their property unoccupied and still pay property rates on unoccupied building”.
He continued, “if you go to Elekahia and Woji, you will find that the situation is the same, especially after the state government published the list of debtor properties owners in the state, landlords feel it is better to have their properties occupied than chase would be tenant away with high rents”.