Real estate investment in urban areas in Nigeria like Onitsha are done mostly by private investors; and this group of investors put considerable sums of money into real estate investments annually without investor’s knowledge and understanding of the performance of the sectors to provide basis for better investment decision and risk management for real estate investors in Onitsha and in other comparable location in Nigeria. This article therefore examined the performance of commercial property investments and residential property investment in Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria. The comparative analysis of the performance of these two types of property investments within the period of nine (9) years (2007to 2016) was conducted, focusing on the annual returns, risk profile and risk-return profile. Data for the study consist of rental and capital values of commercial and residential property investments in the study area and were sourced from the Estate Surveying and Valuation firms practicing in the study area. Data collection was analyzed using Arithmetic Mean Return (AMRR), Geometric Mean Return (GMRR), Standard Deviation and Coefficient of Variation. The average rental values and capital of both residential and commercial property investment were assessed in order to arrive at the annual returns (Arithmetic mean rate of return and Geometric mean rate of return). The risk inherent (Standard Deviation) and the risk-return profile (Coefficient of Variation) of both residential and commercial property investments were equally ascertained and determined respectively. The results showed that commercial property investment performed better than residential property investment within the period studied with an annual return of 19% as against 17% for residential property investment. On the contrary, residential property investment performed better in terms of risk-return profiles within the period under study with 11.34% of risk and 0.67 risk-returns as against 15.88% of risk and 0.84% risk-return for commercial property investment. The performance indicators as shown by this parameter indicate that property investments in Onitsha are very viable but that commercial property investments perform better in return than residential property investment. The study concluded that a risk avert investor will prefer to invest in residential property properties than commercial properties, whereas, an investor who is a risk taker will choose to invest in commercial properties than residential properties not minding the higher risk involve as shown in this work. Investors in commercial properties are sure of their rents as at when due as tenants in commercial properties will prefer to protect their goodwill than vacating the premises; unlike tenants in residential properties who has no goodwill to protect in such premises and so become troublesome in paying their subsequent rents after the first rent has been collected. This article finally recommended that a periodic portfolio performance analysis be done from time to time to aid property portfolio managers or investors in selecting the investment return and reduction of the association risk.
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