Tuesday, 7 May 2013
Houses more expensive on Banana Island than London
one of the most expensive cities in the world.
A serene environment. Well-laid out streets. Undiluted breeze from the
sea. Good lighting and other facilities that make life comfortable…
All have combined to make Banana Island, Ikoyi, Lagos one of the most
expensive areas to acquire a landed property in the country, nay the
The 'island', which derives its name from the banana-shaped
landscape, is approximately 1,630,000 square metres in size – less
than a square mile. It is divided into 536 plots.
Landed property is even more expensive here than in some other parts
of developed world such as the United Kingdom and South Africa, thus
buttressing the various surveys that say Lagos is one of the most
expensive cities in the world.
An investigation by our correspondent shows that Banana Island is,
indeed, for the big players who have more than enough money to afford
the luxury of life it offers.
Both the luxury flats and even lands being offered for sale by
developers attract staggering prices. While a three-bedroom flat
costs as much as N248m, a four-bedroom counterpart can go for as much
as N3.5bn, depending on the facilities it offers.
Ironically, in some parts of London, with all its international
prestige, a four-bedroom flat goes for between N86.1m (£350,000) and
N3.46bn (£10m). In Johannesburg and Capetown, South Africa, such can
be obtained for between N20.2m (R1,190,000) and N40.8million
Current exchange rate of N246 to a Pound Sterling and N17 to the South
African Rand was used as the yardstick to arrive at the Naira
Part of the irony is also that there is a tested mortgage facility the
buyer enjoys in London and other developed places, whereas in Nigeria,
this is almost non-existent as it is a system of cash-and-carry.
In some highbrow areas of London, including Notting Hill and Chelsea,
however, four and seven-bedroom flats sell for N3.45bn (£14m) and
Yet on Banana Island, a four-bedroom pent houses at the waterfront go
for N3.5bn each. While a three-bedroom flat complete with three
bathrooms, attracts N900m.
It is not only fully-built houses that attract such a staggering
amount. Even virgin lands that are being put up for sale are very
A land area covering 19,000 square metres is, for instance, listed for
sale for N5bn while the least available costs N250m on land area
covering 1,100 square metres. There are others: N370m for a parcel of
land covering 1,800 square metres; N280m for a piece covering 1,527
square metres, and N900m for a total land area covering 6,000 square
The consolation, however, is that at Banana Island, residents are
provided with world-class utilities, including underground electrical
systems (versus the overhead cabling common throughout Lagos), an
underground water supply network, a central sewage system and
treatment plant as well as street lighting and satellite
It is no longer news that many influential Nigerians and companies
have found a home on this island of affluence. Among offices of other
business organisations, the headquarters of one of the
telecommunications companies, Etisalat, is located on this island.
In this digital age, Banana Island's fame has spread to the social
media. For instance, our correspondent, on Monday, watched a
documentary on its fortunes on Youtube. While this provides an
opportunity for its admirers to further savour its beauty, however,
some people have also exploited the media to criticise the expensive
paradise it seems to represent.
Omarie Combs, on his Youtube account, describes the staggering amount
being used to acquire property there as crazy.
"My uncle recently moved to Banana Island from Toronto, Canada. I
believe he got the land and the mansion for N600m.
"Nigerians have the best houses in the world. Trust me, I have been to
most of these areas. It's crazy and it's worth millions of dollars,"
In his account, Martins Major says it is amazing that such an
exclusive haven can be found in a country regarded as a 'declining
one.' He adds that the beauty of some houses on Banana Island "cannot
be compared to some houses in the United Kingdom."