The team of Baron and Cabot, a UK-based real estate company, has announced an alternative investment option for Nigerians to invest in real estate and properties in the United Kingdom.
In an interview with NewsAfricaNow, Pearson Mark, the Managing director of Baron and Cabot stated that the company aims to call the attention of Nigerians to how they can invest in real estate and properties in England and the United Kingdom.
“We are here to help Nigerian investors and global investors invest in the most protected market in the United Kingdom,” Mark stated.
The Head of Sales of the company, James Welsh corroborated Mark’s statement:
“We’re offering an alternative to some of the investments that Nigerian clients are making at the moment. So at the moment, your landscape is Nigerian property, some equities, maybe some bonds, All we’re doing is we’re offering an alternative. And what that alternative looks like is we’re able to get your mortgage where the mortgage with the deeds are all in your name and not in the bank’s name.”
He explained further, “You only need to put down between 25% and 35% of the whole property value. And your mortgage rate is between three and a half and 5% or three and a half and five and a half percent. So what that means is you’re able to not only invest in one of the most stable economies in the world, you’re also able to invest in the economy that is the most transparent place to invest in real estate.”
James affirmed that the company is carrying out its assignments in ensuring the protection of investments.
“So this is all very protected and regulated. Plus, you can invest with a very low amount of money. Anything between £50 and £100,000 is what most clients invest. Compared to investments in Nigeria, we have a much lower inflation rate. So it means that you’re able to, in most cases, have higher profits.”
Speaking about the risk that comes with real estate investment, Mark said:
“The reality of it is that all investments have risks. The mode of operation in the UK is very much different from that of Nigeria. So the first thing is that when you invest with us, everything goes through lawyers. The legal team is regulated and independent. They also have what is called Pi insurance (personal indemnity insurance). What that does is if they make a mistake or something happens you can claim all your money back from that insurance, which means they’re regulated by the government.
“We also have things in place, for instance, if it’s an off-plan building and you drop a 20% deposit, if that project does not finish, all of that money comes back to you. So if it’s delayed by twelve months, all of the money comes back to you. Therefore, half of it is insured and half of it is in escrow. So it means that your investments are protected. The way we structured our contracts is in such a way that you get refunded if there should be a major delay or the project is not completed. Although there are risks throughout the whole process, our job is to work out those risks and build processes around them, which is why we have been so successful over the last seven years. I mean, not just in Nigeria, globally.”
Mark noted that the presence of the company in Nigeria is to create opportunities for other African countries like Ghana, South Africa, Zambia, South Sudan, DR Congo, and Botswana.
“Aside from the Nigerian office, we have an office in Nairobi in Kenya. This is to ensure that our clients here in Africa have a way of reaching us physically and also potential investors can inquire about details of properties.”
Stating the reasons for the company’s interest in Africa, Mark explained that people in the continent are willing to invest and they have favorable economies.
“A lot of these emerging markets, we’re interested in them because they have a lot of high inflation, a willingness to invest in other economies as well, to sort of risk theirs. Sometimes if you live in South Sudan, you might do very well in property and sometimes it may drop. So if you like to have an investment in the UK or a few investments in the UK, just to balance that, make sure that pensions are okay or their retirement is okay should their investments at home not work out as planned.
“What’s exciting is this growing middle class that we’re seeing is not the likes of Nigeria. In Kenya and Botswana, we’re seeing this sort of growing middle class of educated, slightly younger investors who are global thinking. So the world is smaller now with all the data. What your readers might want to understand is that while we talk about data and the best places to invest, all of that is available online. So everything is published in England. One of the best things about England is that you can find the crime rates in the area. You can get the average earnings, what’s the average salary in that area, the best schools, the transport links, what every property sold for in the area, what the size of every property is in the area.”
By Samuel Agbelusi