Propsult reality

Potential of Commercial Real Estate Investments in Nigeria

Reading Time: 10 minutes

Table of Contents

Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, presents a unique landscape for commercial real estate investments. With its burgeoning population, rapid urbanization, and expanding middle class, the demand for commercial real estate – from retail spaces to office buildings – is on the rise. However, like any investment, it comes with its own set of challenges and opportunities.

Despite these challenges, the potential rewards of investing in Nigeria’s commercial real estate sector are significant. The country’s vast consumer market, growing economy, and favorable demographics offer attractive long-term prospects for investors willing to navigate the complexities of the market.

Key Takeaways

  • Businesses with long-term contracts often lease commercial properties, like office buildings or retail spaces. This translates to a reliable income stream.
  • Adding commercial real estate to your portfolio spreads your risk. It performs differently from stocks or homes in some markets. This boosts the portfolio’s resilience.
  • Commercial properties can have higher rental rates than residential rentals. They offer the potential for higher returns on your investment.
  • Like residential real estate, commercial properties can appreciate over time. This potential for long-term growth can greatly boost your return on investment.
  • Commercial real estate investments may offer tax benefits, such as depreciation deductions that can lower your taxable income.
Subscription Form
Subscribe for exclusive insight into Lagos real estate and Investment opportunities
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Commercial Properties as Investment Assets

Commercial properties, encompassing a broad spectrum of real estate, are primarily used for business activities. Unlike residential properties that cater to individuals and families, commercial properties serve businesses, corporations, and organizations. They include but are not limited to, shopping malls, office complexes, retail outlets, hotels, and resorts.

Investing in commercial real estate involves the acquisition and ownership of properties such as offices, stores, warehouses, and mixed-use developments. The primary objective of this investment strategy is to generate rental income and achieve capital appreciation.

Rental income from commercial properties is typically generated by leasing out these spaces to businesses. This income is considered taxable and must be reported on your tax return. The associated expenses can generally be deducted from your rental income.

Gaining value from commercial properties involves understanding the fair market value of the property. This value is determined by various factors including the property’s location, condition, and the income it generates. The value of commercial real estate tends to appreciate over time, providing opportunities for capital gains.

Types of Commercial Property in Nigeria

In Nigeria, there are many types of commercial properties. Investors can consider them. Investors should evaluate the traits, tenants, and returns of each property type. They should do this before deciding to invest. Here are some common categories:

Office Buildings

Office buildings are commercial spaces designed for businesses to house their operations and staff. They are in major commercial districts. They are often office buildings. Some popular office building examples in Nigeria include the Civic Centre in Victoria Island, Lagos; Cocoa House in Ibadan; NITEL Building in Marina, Lagos; NNPC Towers in Abuja; and Elephant House in Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos.

Retail Properties

Shopping malls are large retail complexes. They have many stores, restaurants, and entertainment under one roof. Open-air markets and plazas with small shops, stalls, and kiosks are also common retail properties in Nigeria.

Industrial Properties

Industrial properties, like warehouses, provide storage. They also provide facilities for logistics and inventory management. Plants and workshops cater to industrial production and light manufacturing. They serve various industries.

Hospitality Properties

Hotels range from cheap to luxury. They form the hospitality sector, serving travelers and tourists. Standalone restaurants and eateries are also commercial properties. They are leased to food and drink establishments.

Healthcare Properties

Healthcare properties include hospitals, clinics, and diagnostic centers. They offer medical services. They also include pharmacies and dispensaries that distribute drugs.

Educational Properties

Educational properties include schools, universities, and training centers. They are facilities for primary, secondary, tertiary, and vocational education programs.

Mixed-Use Properties

Mixed-use properties combine different commercial parts. For example, they have retail spaces on the ground floor and offices or homes on the upper floors. This mix creates a complete development.

Advantages of Investing in Commercial Properties

Investing in commercial properties offers several advantages that make them an attractive asset class for investors:

Potential for Higher Returns

Commercial properties often have higher rent and appreciation potential than residential properties. This makes them attractive for investors seeking robust returns.

Diversification of Investment Portfolio

Commercial real estate provides diversification benefits. It helps investors reduce risk by spreading their capital across different types of assets and properties.

Long-Term Lease Agreements and Stable Income

Commercial leases are longer than residential leases. They give investors stable, predictable income for a long time.

Potential Tax Benefits

Investors in commercial property may benefit from many tax breaks. These include depreciation, mortgage interest, and property tax deductions. They help cut tax bills.

Investing in commercial properties has special chances. It’s for creating wealth. They also help grow a portfolio. But, you must understand the challenges and risks of commercial real estate investments. We’ll explore them in the next section.

Different ways of investing in commercial property in Nigeria

In Nigeria, there are several ways to invest in commercial properties.  Investors should carefully evaluate the location, property type, tenant quality, lease terms, and potential for appreciation or income generation. Here are some common investment strategies:

Direct Purchase

One simple way is to buy a commercial property, like an office building, store, warehouse, or factory. The investor becomes the owner. They must manage and keep up the property. They must also collect rent from tenants.

Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)

While REITs are not yet fully established in Nigeria, there are efforts to introduce them as an investment vehicle. REITs would let investors buy shares in a company. The company owns and operates income-generating commercial properties.

Some of the examples of Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) in Nigeria are Skye Shelter Fund, Union Homes Real Estate Investment Trust, The Churchgate REITs, Anchoria Asset Management Limited 

Real Estate Investment Clubs/Cooperatives

They are groups of investors. They pool their resources to buy and manage commercial properties. Members contribute funds and share in the ownership, expenses, and profits of the properties.

In Nigeria, investors can participate in the real estate market by joining Real Estate Investment Clubs/Cooperatives like the Lagos Real Estate Cooperative Society (LARECS), Abuja Property Investment Cooperative (APIC), and the Enugu Real Estate Investors Club (EREIC).

Joint Ventures and Property Development

Investors can partner with other individuals, companies, or real estate developers to jointly purchase and manage commercial properties. This approach allows for risk-sharing and the pooling of resources. Investors can help build new commercial properties. They can do this as developers or by financing projects.

Examples are Lekki Gardens Estate, Eko Atlantic City, The Katampe Estate Extension and many more.

Crowdfunding Platforms

Some crowdfunding platforms in Nigeria are beginning to offer opportunities for investors to contribute funds towards the acquisition or development of commercial properties.

Several prominent real estate crowdfunding platforms include RealtyMogul, Fundrise, and Piggyvest. These platforms offer investors the opportunity to select from a range of crowd-funding opportunities.

Real Estate Investment Groups

These are informal groups of investors. They jointly invest in commercial properties. Members contribute funds and share in the ownership and returns. Examples are Areapro, Johnnex Globe, GreySwitch and more 

Challenges and Risks of Investing in Commercial Properties

Investing in commercial real estate offers big potential for growth and income. But, it also has challenges and risks. Investors must think about them carefully.

Higher Initial Investment and Financing Requirements

Commercial properties typically need a bigger initial investment. This is in comparison to residential properties. Financing options for commercial real estate may also come with stricter eligibility criteria and higher interest rates, making it challenging for some investors to access capital.

Market Volatility and Economic Factors

Market conditions, economic trends, and industry factors affect commercial property values. Changes in demand, consumer behavior, and downturns can hurt occupancy, rent, and property values. This poses risks to investors’ returns.

Tenant Turnover and Vacancies

Tenants come and go. Vacancies disrupt cash flow and hurt investments. Commercial properties face these risks. Vacancy rates may change due to demand shifts, new competition, or tenant defaults. Proactive management and leasing strategies are needed to reduce these risks.

Maintenance and Operational Costs

Owning and managing commercial properties requires ongoing expenses. These include maintenance, repair, and operations. Owners must maintain the property’s condition. They must address issues quickly and ensure compliance with rules. Doing this can cost a lot over 

Factors to Consider Before Investing in Commercial Properties

Before investing in commercial properties, evaluating various factors to reduce risks and maximize returns is crucial. Here are some key factors to consider, with examples in Nigeria:

Location and Market Demand

Location is critical for the success of commercial properties. Investors should assess market demand, demographic trends, and economic indicators in target markets to identify areas with strong growth potential and demand for commercial space. For example, in Nigeria, areas like Lagos Island, Ikoyi, and Victoria Island in Lagos State are prime locations for commercial properties due to their high population density, business activities, and infrastructure development.

Property Type and Asset Class

Each type of commercial property offers unique investment opportunities and risk profiles. Investors should evaluate the characteristics and market demand for property types such as office buildings, retail centers, warehouses, and mixed-use developments. In Nigeria, retail properties like shopping malls and plazas have gained popularity in major cities like Lagos, Abuja, and Port Harcourt, driven by the growing middle class and changing consumer behavior.

Financial Analysis and Due Diligence

Conducting thorough financial analysis and due diligence is essential before investing in commercial properties. Investors should assess the property’s financials, cash flow projections, leases, and costs to ensure they align with their investment goals and risk tolerance. In Nigeria, it is crucial to consider factors like currency fluctuations, inflation rates, and the availability of financing options when evaluating the financial viability of a commercial property investment.

Tenant Quality and Lease Terms

The quality of tenants and lease terms can significantly impact investment returns and property stability. Investors should evaluate tenant creditworthiness, lease expiration dates, renewal options, and rental rates to assess the property’s income potential and occupancy stability over time. In Nigeria, it is essential to thoroughly vet potential tenants, as the business environment can be challenging, and reliable anchor tenants are crucial for the success of commercial properties.

Legal and Regulatory Environment

Understanding the legal and regulatory environment is crucial when investing in commercial properties. Investors should familiarize themselves with zoning laws, building codes, and regulations that may impact the use and value of the property. In Nigeria, land ownership and title issues can be complex, and it is advisable to seek professional legal advice to navigate the regulatory landscape effectively.

Management and Maintenance

Commercial properties require professional management and ongoing maintenance to maintain their value and attract quality tenants. Investors should assess their ability to manage the property effectively or consider outsourcing property management services. In Nigeria, finding experienced and reputable property management companies can be challenging, making it essential to thoroughly vet potential partners.

Strategies for Successful Commercial Property Investment

Investing in commercial properties requires careful planning, strategic decision-making, and proactive management to maximize returns and mitigate risks. Here are some key strategies for successful commercial property investment:

Building a Diversified Portfolio

Diversification is essential for mitigating risk and optimizing returns in commercial real estate investment. Investors should consider diversifying their portfolios across different property types, geographic locations, and asset classes to reduce exposure to market volatility and industry-specific risks. 

A well-diversified portfolio can help balance income streams, hedge against downturns in specific markets, and capture opportunities for growth in emerging sectors.

Working with Experienced Professionals

Successful commercial property investment often requires expertise in various disciplines, including real estate finance, property management, leasing, and legal compliance. 

Investors should consider partnering with experienced professionals, such as real estate agents, property managers, attorneys, and financial advisors, who can provide valuable insights, guidance, and support throughout the investment process. 

Collaborating with seasoned professionals can help investors navigate complex transactions, mitigate risks, and optimize investment outcomes.

Continuous Market Monitoring and Adaptation

The commercial real estate market is dynamic and constantly evolving, influenced by changing economic conditions, regulatory developments, and industry trends. Investors should stay vigilant and continuously monitor market dynamics, emerging opportunities, and potential risks that may impact their investment portfolio. 

By staying informed and adaptive, investors can identify new investment prospects, adjust their strategies in response to market shifts, and position themselves for long-term success in the competitive commercial property market.

Mitigating Risks through Insurance and Contingency Plans

Commercial property investment entails various risks, including property damage, liability claims, and economic downturns. Investors should proactively mitigate risks by securing comprehensive insurance coverage, including property insurance, liability insurance, and business interruption insurance, to protect against unforeseen events and potential financial losses. 

Additionally, investors should develop contingency plans and risk management strategies to address potential challenges, such as tenant defaults, market downturns, and regulatory changes, ensuring the resilience and sustainability of their investment portfolio.


Investing in commercial properties offers investors significant opportunities for wealth creation, portfolio diversification, and long-term financial growth. By understanding the unique dynamics, challenges, and opportunities of the commercial real estate market and implementing sound investment strategies, investors can unlock the full potential of their investment portfolio and achieve their financial goals. You can navigate the complexities of the market, mitigate risks, and position yourself for success in this dynamic and rewarding sector.

In commercial real estate, knowledge, diligence, and adaptability are key to achieving sustainable investment returns and realizing your investment objectives. With the right mindset and approach, commercial property investment can be a rewarding and fulfilling journey toward financial prosperity and success.


What types of commercial real estate investments are available in Nigeria?

In Nigeria, commercial real estate investments encompass various property types, including office buildings, retail centres, industrial warehouses, hospitality properties (hotels and resorts), and mixed-use developments. Each property type offers unique investment opportunities and potential for generating rental income, capital appreciation, and long-term wealth accumulation. 

What are the benefits of investing in commercial real estate in Nigeria?

Investing in commercial real estate in Nigeria offers several benefits, including higher income potential, portfolio diversification, and inflation protection. Commercial properties typically generate higher rental income compared to residential properties, providing investors with stable cash flow and the potential for long-term appreciation. 

How can I assess the potential of a commercial real estate investment in Nigeria?

Assessing the potential of a commercial real estate investment in Nigeria involves conducting thorough due diligence and analyzing various factors such as market demand, location, property condition, and financial performance. Start by researching market trends, demographics, and economic indicators to gauge demand-supply dynamics and investment opportunities in the target market. Evaluate the property’s location for accessibility, visibility, and proximity to amenities, transportation, and target demographics. 

Get Expert Advice on Lagos Property Market

Are you an Home-buyer, New or experienced investor? Get your tailored success strategy with a FREE consulation! Book now and unlock your potential!


Get all of our latest real estate tips delivered straight to your inbox.

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
Open chat
Hi there 👋
How can we help you?