The newly built community on the water houses some of the nation’s wealthiest people, and expats, too. Banana Island, could be seen as Nigeria’s answer to Paris’s Seventh Arrondissement, San Diego’s La Jolla, New York City’s Tribeca and Tokyo’s Shibuya and Roppongi, is a small man-made island in the Ikoyi neighborhood of Lagos.
This is a billionaires’ paradise populated by the country’s richest and most well-known families, who savor its quiet, peaceful atmosphere far from the clamor and crowds of Lagos, the country’s largest city and financial center. Its name comes from its distinct shape. Banana Island, completed in 2000, is about five miles east of Tafawa Balewa Square, the heart of commerce and ceremonial events in Lagos, and the island has attracted a population of affluent residents.
The 1.63-million-square-meter sand-filled island in Lagos Lagoon is a little more than 5 miles east of Tafawa Balewa Square, the commercial and ceremonial heart of Lagos. A dedicated road connects it to a network of roads near Parkview Estate. First Avenue in the north and Second Avenue in the sound merge and run around its perimeter.
As in the rest of the country, real estate prices on Banana Island are based on the value of the land, which according to Roberta Nouboue, managing director of Madingwa Real Estate, is NGN400,000 (US$1,101 per square meter).
Ms. Nouboue said prices for detached houses, which rarely come on the market because there are not many on the island, start at NGN1 billion (US$2.75 million). The most expensive listing now on the market, NGN5 billion, is for a six-bedroom detached house on 2,600 square meters of land, she said.
She added that four-bedroom, single-family terrace/townhouses that are on average 400 square meters and are on 1,000 square meters of land generally range from NGN350 million to NGN500 million.
One current listing, she said, is for NGN750 million. That’s the price for each of the twin townhouses on 600 square meters of land. The island also has three prominent condo developments: Ocean Parade Towers, Bella Vista Towers and Lakepoint Apartments.
“There are more apartments and terrace houses than detached single-family homes because land is so scarce and land prices are so high,” Ms. Nouboue said. “Most of them are owned by individuals and rented out to tenants who pay NGN25 million to NGN30 million annually.”
She said it’s possible to buy a unit for about NGN363 million “because value has dropped significantly in the last three years with the devaluation of the naira. It’s illegal to market real estate in anything but naira.” Of the three condo developments, Ocean Parade is considered the most top-notch, she said, because of its many amenities, which include tennis courts, an Olympic-size pool, two gyms and children’s areas.