Recently, the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode announced that the long awaited and much talked about 4th Mainland Bridge will become a reality in the next three years. Designed to cover a distance of 38klm, the project which will be actualized under a build, operate and transfer (BOT) arrangement is to cost a whopping N844billion. In real estate terms, the significance of the bridge goes beyond its cost.
The bridge will be connecting locations and communities. The bridge is expected to provide the required transportation compliment to the rapidly growing real estate and industrial activities on the Eti-Osa – Lekki – Epe-Ikorodu corridor of the State as it will pass through Lekki, Langbasa and Baiyeiku towns along the shoreline of the Lagos Lagoon creeks, further running through Igbogbo River Basin and crossing the Lagos Lagoon estuaries to Itamaga Area in Ikorodu. It will also cross the Itoikin road and the Ikorodu – Sagamu Road to connect Isawo inward Lagos-Ibadan Expressway at the Ojodu Berger axis.
According to a number of real estate pundits, the bridge will actually be doing more than connecting communities. The bridge will ultimately help to close the property price gaps between Lekki and Ikorodu. Currently, property prices in Ikorodu lag behind those of Lekki in some cases by more than 1000%. While a plot of land in the most expensive parts of Ikorodu like Agric, Benson, Eyita and environs sell for between N4million and N8million, plots in the most expensive parts of Lekki like Lekki Phase 1 and Ikate-Elegushi sell for between N60million and N150million. In the least expensive parts of Ikorodu like Ogijo, Imota, and environs, a plot of land currently sells for between N400K and N1million, while those of the least expensive parts of Lekki like Ibeju-Lekki, Eleko and environs sell for between N2million and N5million.
When the effect of the 4th Mainland Bridge is mentioned in terms of helping to close the gap between Ikorodu and Lekki, the expectations of real estate pundits are that demand for properties in Ikorodu will rise substantially and in turn lead to a rise in land prices. The question for the Ikorodu optimists however is: will land prices in the most affordable parts of Lekki like Ibeju-Lekki remain stagnant in the face of rising land prices in Ikorodu after the 4th Mainland Bridge has been constructed?
“A close in the gap of land/property prices between Lekki and Ikorodu after the construction of the 4th Mainland Bridge may never happen as anticipated in some quarters”, says Babajide Ogunsanwo the MD/CEO Babjons Homes and Properties Limited. According to Ogunsanwo, while it is an undisputable fact that Ikorodu land prices will never get near those of the most expensive parts of Lekki, the other factors that will continue to drive land prices in the affordable areas of Lekki like Ibeju-Lekki may ensure that it keeps a lead over Ikorodu even when the 4th Mainland Bridge has been constructed.
“Everyone is talking about the 4th Mainland Bridge for Ikorodu, but we forget that Ibeju-Lekki already has other upcoming and ongoing gargantuan projects like the Free Trade Zone, Deep Sea Port, International Airport, Dangote Refinery amongst others. For the Lekki axis, the 4th Mainland Bridge will only be an icing on the cake”, Ogunsanwo explained.
“Even with other factors helping to sustain the rise in land prices in the Ibeju-Lekki axis, the expected shift in demand and supply between the two locations will definitely lead to a close in gap”, says Segun Akogunan Estate Surveyor and Valuer while giving what appears to be a contrary opinion to those of Ogunsanwo on the topic.
According to Akogun, there are facts currently available that show that the demand for land in Ikorodu will almost triple that of Ibeju-Lekki when the 4th Mainland Bridge is eventually constructed. “Quite a number of real estate pundits are worried about the future of Ibeju-Lekki because of the lack of the corresponding infrastructural plan by the government to meet up with the demand of projects that are being situated in that area. There are fears in the public domain that Ibeju-Lekki may eventually turn out to be likeApapa in terms of traffic congestion now that a Refinery, Deep Sea Port etc. are being situated in the area without matching transportation networks being put in place”, he says.
“We are not saying that prices of Ikorodu and Ibeju-Lekki will be the same, but definitely, there will be close in the gap. Don’t forget, land supply in the Ibeju-Lekki axis is not as much as what you will get in Ikorodu. Don’t also forget that what it cost to build a house in Ikorodu because of the texture of the soil is about half of what it will take to build in Ibeju-Lekki where most plots are swampy and waterlogged. When potential homeowners know that they can get a relatively cheap plot in Ikorodu and build a house at relatively cheap costs and transport to the Island easily via the 4th Mainland Bridge, they will surely demand more for the Ikorodu plots”, Akogun explained.
Both pundits however, agree on a point, the 4th Mainland Bridge will have a positive effect on real estate values in both Ikorodu and Ibeju-Lekki. Their submission is that this is the time for willing homeowners and property investors to start to make a move. Their advice is that: IN REAL ESTATE, IT IS BETTER TO MOVE BEFORE THE MARKET MOVES BEYOND YOU.