Land titles registration and property investment are two processes which are very important in real estate development. But land registration precedes and guarantees certainty of ownership of site for
real construction to take place, after all investment does not take place in the air but on land. Therefore, this research was aimed at studying the effect of registration of land titles on property investment. The research adopted a descriptive design, with the data mainly obtained from secondary source. The result showed that registration of title on land over which property investment takes place reduces information asymmetries as both parties to land transaction can gain access to the same information, with the buyer receiving state guarantees about the authenticity of the registered information on land, thereby reducing land transaction costs, speeds up the process of land acquisition for investors and removing landownership uncertainty. Other results from the research indicated that land registration offers the land owners access to cheaper and additional medium or long term credit through mortgage; speedy and smooth land transaction; security of property investment in the case of overriding public interest which may be exercised by the state; and makes conveyance for property investment simpler thereby promoting socio-economic development. However, it was recommended from the research that any investor who wants to go into real estate should at most consider obtaining a legal title to his/her land where the investment is to take place through proper land registration.
Keywords: Land, Registration, Instrument, Property Investment.
Background to the Study
The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (9th Edition) defines Land title as the legal right to own land, and the document which shows that one has such a title. Land title refers to the documentary evidence of the right of ownership on a given plot of land to an individual or group. This documentary evidence is called Certicate of Title. Title to land is often insured by a state or municipal government to identify the owner or owners of real property. Land title comes as a result of land registration. Titles to land are means to formalize land ownership rights. Dixon (2002) described land registered if the title to it (which for convenience can be thought of as a right of ownership) is recorded in a register maintained by the Land Registry at a number of districts in a country. Land Registration or title registration is carried out in order to make claims to land enforceable and contract on land stick (Rosenberg and Birdzell, 1986).
Land registration generally describes systems by which matters concerning ownership, possession or other rights in land can be recorded (usually with a government agency or department) to provide evidence of title, facilitate transaction and to prevent unlawful disposal which vary according to jurisdiction. According to Udechukwu (2006), the basic idea behind title registration is to confer on every owner or purchaser a title guaranteed by the state. It is believed to make conveyance simple, cheap, speedy and reliable by obviating most of the difculties and hazards to which a purchaser of land is exposed under the system of registered conveyance. The law regulating registration of land instrument in Nigeria is the Land Registration Act No. 36 of 1924. This is the parent Act enacted for the whole country, which is adopted and re-enacted in some state under different names. A common feature of land registration in Nigeria is the registration of any instrument executed before or after the commencement of the Act. In order to facilitate registration, the law establishes in every state, land registry under a land registrar charged with the responsibilities of registering instruments affecting land in the state and to keep registered books and les relating to each plot.
The term ‘property’ has several connotations, but in estate management parlance, it is most frequently used with reference to real property. Real property, also referred to as property investment, has a variety of concepts, and includes land and buildings (Kalu, 2001). Therefore, property investment is considered as the parting of capital at present on the development, or purchase of land and/or buildings which provides interest of certain duration either for future income generation/capital appreciation or self occupation.
The conceptualization of the development of buildings or structures anywhere is always preceded by the acquisition of space or site (land). This site so acquired must be ensured to have good title; and one way of assuring good title is an evidence of registration. The registration of land has several effects on property, thus this research sought to x-ray the effect of land titles registration on property investment in Nigeria.