Here’s how Banana Island in Lagos is a Billionaire’s Paradise

Banana Island Completed in 2000, it is a billionaire’s paradise populated by the country’s richest and most famous families, who enjoy its quiet, peaceful atmosphere away from the hustle and bustle of Lagos, the country’s largest city and financial centre.which is Nigeria’s answer to the Seventh Arrondissement of Paris, San Diego’s La Jolla, New York City’s Tribeca and Tokyo’s Shibuya and Roppongi, is a small man-made island in the Ikoi neighborhood of Lagos.

The 1.63 million-square-metre sand-filled island in the Lagos lagoon is little more than 5 miles east of Tafawa Balewa Square, the commercial and formal heart of Lagos. A dedicated road connects it to the network of roads near Parkview Estate. First Avenue to the north and Second Avenue to the sound merge and run around its perimeter.

Like the rest of the country, real estate prices on Banana Island are based on the value of the land, which according to Roberta Nauboue, Managing Director of Madingwa Real Estate, is NGN400,000 (US$1,101 per square metre).

Ms Nauboue said prices for the detached homes, 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 on the market now, NGN5 billion, is for a six-bedroom detached house on 2,600 square meters of land, he said.

He said a current listing is for NGN750 million. This is the price of each twin townhouse on 600 square meters of land.

The island also has three major condo developments: Ocean Parade Towers, Bella Vista Towers and Lakepoint Apartments.

“There are more apartments and terrace houses than there are detached single-family homes because there is very little land and land prices are very high,” Ms Nauboe said. “Most of them are owned by individuals and rented out to tenants who pay NGN 25 million to 30 million annually.”

She said it is possible to buy a unit for approximately NGN363 million “as the value has dropped significantly over the last three years with the devaluation of the Naira. It is illegal to market real estate in anything other than Naira.”

Of the three condo developments, Ocean Parade is considered top-notch, she said, because of its many amenities, which include tennis courts, an Olympic-sized pool, two gyms and children’s areas.

As originally planned, Banana Island was to be an uber-exclusive enclave of single-family detached estates divided into 535 property plots, ranging from 1,000 to 4,000 square metres. The height of the house was to be limited to three storeys.

The first homes were built on the south side of the island, but as land prices skyrocketed, skyscrapers were built on the north side, which also houses the area’s commercial corridor. There are three mixed-use skyscrapers—Edunola, the oldest, and Lakepoint Towers and Desiderata, which were built in the last two years.

“The first houses that were built were in the traditional British and Dubai style,” Ms Nubo said. “They’re very showy and have nice gardens. The newer ones are more modern, with straight angles, and they’re less tall because they’re on less land.”

Buyers have a choice of two to four-bedroom en-suite flats, maisonettes and terrace houses, said Charles Onenz, a partner at Knight Frank. “Typically, a very large percentage of homes are adapted, while there are some large estates that contain many prototype houses,” he said.

Ms. Nauboue said that swimming pools are very popular. He said that almost every house has a gym.

Mr. Oniange said, the apartment buildings are fully equipped with amenities that include fitted kitchens, walk-in-wardrobes, intercom systems, security monitoring systems and standby generators.

“Banana Island is a piece of paradise in the middle of noisy Lagos,” Ms Nauboue said, adding that the island has two parks. “It offers security, peace and privacy. To get to the island, you have to go through a security gate. It’s by invitation only.”

He said that because there is not much car traffic, “you can jog in peace.”

Mr Oynez said the island’s security network, good roads, 24/7 street lighting and proximity to the waters of the Lagos Lagoon make it special.

It also provides status. “Having a presence in Banana Island is a sign of your social class,” he said.