Faculty: Environmental Sciences
Department: Estate Management
Nissi, C. F.
Egolum, C. C.
Property market maturity is a concept used to describe the level of development and evolution achieved by a property market. Investment in real estate is gaining ground not only locally or nationally but also internationally. This could be attributed to the durability, income generation, and capital appreciation characteristics of real estate. The need for investors to have a good knowledge of the property market they want to invest in brings to the fore the issue of property market maturity. Based on the unique features of real and the fall in the stocks market, some investors mostly local in Port Harcourt now venture into real estate investment without considering the maturity of the proposed property market. Many have by this act ended up not fully utilizing and exploring the investment opportunities in the market. On the other hand, foreign investors have not been investing in the Port Harcourt market because the maturity of the market has not been established. This necessitates the need to know the maturity status of the market, hence this study. The aim of this study is to assess the maturity of the property market in Port Harcourt with a view to providing information that will enhance property information in the study area. The objectives of the study are to: determine the different property types and market players in the study area; identify the characteristics of the Port Harcourt property market; identify factors militating against the property market; and to apply maturity checklists to the Port Harcourt property market. Survey design was employed and data were sourced with questionnaires and interviews. The respondents included: registered and practicing Estate Surveyors and Valuers, Estate Surveyors and Valuers in academics, Rivers State Housing and Property Development Authority, selected commercial and mortgage banks, Rivers State Ministry of Urban Planning and Physical Development and occupiers of selected properties in the study area. Both simple random and multi-stage sampling techniques were used for sampling. Capital and rental values on the different classes of commercial and residential properties were used to arrive at the return and risk levels on these properties for the study period (2000-2014). Standard indicators including: ability of the market to accommodate different objectives of investors and users, flexible market adjustment in both long and short runs, existence of professional bodies with its associated networks, information flows and research activities, market openness in spatial, functional and sectoral terms, standardization of market rights and practices, development stability and finance accessibility for real estate developments were used to assess the maturity of the market. The hypotheses were tested with one-way analysis of variance and one sample t - test. The result of the analysis showed variations in returns and risks in different classes of commercial and residential properties within the study period (2000-2014). The study found out that there is a significant difference between the responses of the five different groups of respondents on the maturity indicators. It was discovered, using the analysis of returns and risks and other eight maturity indicators, that the Port Harcourt property market is immature. In addition, of the factors militating against the property market, the state of the economy of the State ranked topmost, while politics in the State is the least. It was recommended amongst others that the standard of living of the people could be improved by diversification of the government into industrialization and agriculture. This will curb the effect of the state of the economy of the state on the maturity of the market. The professional bodies in the built environment can occasionally come up with programmes and seminars targeted on public enlightenment on issues that affect our properties and the environment at large.