Lagos is an expensive place. Nowadays, it seems like no matter
where you go in this city, someone is asking you to pay N600,000 for rent, and
pay for 2 years upfront. It often feels like Lagos is the only city on earth to
start gentrifying without an attendant increase in living standards or quality
of infrastructure. If you’re on a tight budget however, don’t worry – there are
still thousands of affordable and reasonable accommodation options available in
Lagos. Here are the top 5 areas on the Mainland where you are likely to find
affordable accommodation and an inexpensive cost of living.

1. Ipaja

This area has always been popular with people who commute daily to
Ikeja or the Island because of its easy access to Agege Motor Rd, which makes
Ikeja and 3rd Mainland Bridge accessible via Oshodi. With miniflats
starting from N120,000, and the average 3-bedroom apartment starting from
N350,000, Ipaja is also a very cheap place to rent. In addition to its low
rental prices, the area boasts of cheap food and several inexpensive markets
because of its location along the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway, which makes it one
of the main gateways of cheap foodstuff from the inland Southwest into Lagos.
There is also a flurry of remedial work going on along the corridor, so the
dodgy road may soon be much easier to navigate in the near future. Even better,
Ipaja is one of the few places in Lagos where land is still available in the
single digit million range, so if you’re looking to build cheaply, you can do
far worse than look at Ipaja.

2. Ikorodu

Despite a recent flurry of negative news concerning the security
situation in Ikorodu, it still remains one of the most popular suburbs of
Lagos, with people residing here commuting as far afield as Lekki and Alausa
everyday. With an average rental price of just N240,000, it is not hard to see
why. If you’re looking for a cheap miniflat, you can potentially find one for
as little as N120,000 annually in Ikorodu. The upgrading of Ikorodu Rd from
Mile 12 to Ikorodu has eased the previously interminable traffic snarl on that
corridor, and the provision of BRT buses that run regularly along that route
has made cheap and reliable public transportation a reality for many who live there.
If you’re still not convinced by the traffic situation between Ikorodu and
Lagos, you might also want to take a look at using the ferry service which
connects Ikorodu Jetty and different parts of the Island such as Vi, Lekki
Phase 1 and Badore in just 40 minutes or less. With just 5 incidents in 3
years, the boat service is also statistically safer than travelling along
Ikorodu Road, so that is also something to consider.

3. Alimosho

The appeal of Alimosho is very similar to that of Ipaja, and they
are located along the same corridor. The typical miniflat here starts from
N150,000 annually, and a 3-bed starts from about N380,000. The edge that
Alimosho has is that by virtue of relatively cheap available land, several
people have been able to build their dream home here, and create nice
walled-off communities not unlike Magodo or Omole Estate, but without the cost
implications of such places. For years, the state of the Lagos-Abeokuta
Expressway acted as a brake on such development, but with the road undergoing
upgrades reently, there has been a real estate explosion in that area, and it
only looks set o continue. All the price advantages of Ipaja hold constant in
Alomosho, and for those who want a bit more, Ikeja is a 15-minute drive away,
without traffic.

4. Bariga

The mental image conjured up by the word “Bariga” is one of grimy
slums, “face-me-I-face-you” buildings, children rolling tyres in the street
wearing only dirty underpants and Olamide. This picture is no longer accurate
these days, as Bariga is witnessing a rapid process of urban regeneration as
the older landlords move on and developers snap up the properties for
redevelopment or demolishing. Jagunmolu Street, which is Bariga’s main artery
connecting the market to UNILAG is now filled with construction of different
kinds – banks, petrol and gas stations, office buildings, retail developments
and supermarkets. Despite all this, rental prices are yet to respond to the
upward pressure, with miniflats in this area starting from N150,000, and
4-bedroom flats going for as little as N350,000. The Bariga market offers a
vast range of delightfully cheap retail options and the area largely retains
its community spirit, meaning that it is a very affordable place to live. Even
better, its central location at the mouth of 3rd Mainland Bridge
makes it a very desirable location for Island commuters.

5. Yaba

The inclusion of Yaba on this list may seem somewhat
controversial, as much of Yaba is now Island-lite with apartments going for
seven or eight figures annually. Outside of the bourgeoisie areas of Herbert
Macaulay and Sabo however, you will find flats going for an average of
N300,000, and starting from as little as N150,000. Areas like Onike offer the
widest selection of cheap apartments in various sizes, and some parts of Akoka
have attractive prices as well (if you don’t mind having university students as
neighbours). Yaba is located centrally too, with an outlet to Bariga, an outlet
to Costain and another outlet to the middle of 3rd Mainland Bridge,
which makes it another great commuter area. Bariga market
is just half a mile away from Akoka, giving you access to cheap food and living
materials. In the event that you want a little something more, the E-Centre is
located just after Tejuoso, with a retail mall, restaurants and an Ozone Cinema
showing all of the latest local and international film releases. Speaking of
Tejuoso, the market has one of the widest selections of cheap clothing in all
of Lagos, so if you want to rent a decent-sized flat, eat well and look good
without breaking your budget, you should take a long look at Yaba.

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