Accommodation in Nigeria

The housing situation in Nigeria is a dire one, with demand dwarfing supply, and with only limited accommodation available that would satisfy Western expat standards. As a result, the cost of renting an “acceptable” bungalow, duplex, apartment or house in the country can be high and well beyond the price range warranted by the average professional’s salary.

Thankfully, for expats, most hiring companies not only finance their employee’s accommodation, but also secure it and assume responsibility for any leasing logistics. In some cases, companies even own properties specifically designed to accommodate their foreign staff, as it proves cheaper to purchase a house in Nigeria than to rent one for years on end.

This commonality applies both to expats living in the big cities of Abuja and Lagos, as well as those lured to the more isolated, oil-rich areas of the Niger Delta, like Port Harcourt.

Foreigners contemplating a move to Nigeria should ensure that a housing stipulation has been included in their contract; this is standard practice and expats should certainly demand their company support them in some way.

It’s not unusual for expats who arrive to work in Nigeria to be put up in a hotel initially while the house-hunting process gets underway. If this is the case, the only way to guarantee a five-star experience is to stay in an international hotel, which can be excessively expensive. 

Types of accommodation in Nigeria

Accommodation for expats is usually concentrated in specific areas or suburbs of a city and within company compounds, apartment blocks or pre-established private housing complexes. Fully furnished, semi-furnished and completely unfurnished housing is available.

Expat compounds in Nigeria usually include 24-hour security (in some cases even armed guards), wireless internet, on-site amenities like tennis courts and a pool, and even domestic help.

Nigerian housing can thus be incredibly spacious and equally beautiful for expats, though the surrounding squalor of nearby neighbourhoods can be devastating; low-income earners, who make up the majority of the Nigerian population, are the most affected by the inadequate supply of housing.

Security considerations in Nigeria

Expats who are lucky enough to secure the kind of accommodation found in Lagos’s luxurious Victoria Island and Ikoyi areas, or in Abuja’s Maitama or Mississippi districts, will find that security threats are kept at bay by adequate precautionary measures. However, they may also find that life in these areas can feel particularly isolated. On that same note, though, some expats take solace in the camaraderie that a tight-knit, insular expat community can provide.

Some issues can’t be avoided, regardless of where in Nigeria one lives – most notably, Nigeria’s incredibly temperamental power and limited water supplies. Boreholes and generators are a must; otherwise, residents can look forward to regular blackouts or water shortages with little or no warning.

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