Affordable Housing in Nigeria

“The housing demand in Nigeria has expanded rapidly due to current urbanisation trends and the estimated demand annually is about 700,000 units”

By some accounts, Nigeria’s home ownership rate, currently put at 25% percent, is very low when compared with the housing situation in some developing and developed countries.
Available statistics show that Benin Republic has home ownership rate of 63 percent; Kenya 73 percent; Singapore 90 percent; the U.S. 70 percent; South Africa 56 percent, and Libya 41 percent.

Commenting on the housing situation in Nigeria, President Goodluck Jonathan said that the country needs a minimum of N56 trillion to be able to bridge a deficit of 17 million housing units. He said that the shortfall, which did not cover the cost of providing infrastructure, translated to an average cost of N3.5 million per housing unit.
Housing experts note that the housing deficit has continued to increase; saying that the development indicates that the government’s housing policy is not working as expected.
They note that the deficit rose from seven million housing units in 1991 to between 12 and 15 million units in 2008, while peaking at between 17 and 18 million units in 2012.

They insist that the deficit would continue to rise until the government and private sector are able to provide housing units that are affordable to all, and also until the financial authorities are able to bring down interest rates to a single-digit level, so as to enable low income earners access mortgage loans.

Affordable Housing, however, is not only a compelling concern of the very poor. One need not be poor at all to realize that housing costs are high, or that the housing choices open to people with low/moderate incomes are often limited at best. Housing is one of the most basic human needs. The housing challenge facing Nigeria for instance is multifarious in dimension, ranging from a huge housing deficit due to imbalance between supply and demand, rapid urbanization, steady population growth, high cost of construction, paucity of housing finance, lack of affordable supply, with prohibitive financing available to developers- cost of building materials, planning/building regulations, lack of skills/capacity , poor state of infrastructure, under investment in low-income group to have decent housing accommodation.

Among all the evidence shown for the current huge housing deficit in Nigeria, estimated to be about 16 million units, lack of finance is no doubt a major factor.
The NMRC has also been launched and set up as a re-financing vehicle to provide mortgage lending institutions with increased access to liquidity and long-term funds. Since the ability of banks to deliver mortgage services is limited by the fact that 80 per cent of all banks’ deposits are for 30 days only, the NMRC, in ensuring greater access to finance for tenors of up to 20 years, will help accelerate the growth of the mortgage market for all income levels. Pre-qualification for a mortgage is a critical first step to home ownership. Once you are pre-qualified for a mortgage by a lender you are literally better armed and emboldened to look for a home to buy, within the limits of the mortgage provided. With the 10,000 mortgages scheme, Nigerians can now begin to realise their dream of owning a home and look forward to improved socio-economic outcomes.

In an attempt to proffer effective real estate solutions and set new standards for efficiency in achieving housing dreams of Nigerians, Gran Imperio Group (GIG) has positioned strategically and has keyed into this dream with a master plan to build and make homes affordable. GIG launched a new concept for homeownership, which will offer ‘affordable yet upscale homes’ to prospective individuals and corporate organisations. The product is known as ‘EssentialHomes’ comprising 1, 2, 3 and 4 bedroom bungalows priced at N7,950,000, N11,950,000, N14,950,000 and N18,950,000 respectively. The incredibly low prices were achieved because of the backward integration strategy of the company, to encourage local manufacturing, efficiency and cost savings.

EssentialHomes, being test-run with 108 units in The Southpointe Estate, occupying about 2 hectares of land, situated on a sprawling Lafiaji Road, off Orchid Hotel road, after 2nd toll Gran Imperio Group will also deliver a couple of projects around the same vicinity with a mixture of bungalows, flats and townhouses. All these developments are exquisitely finished, spiced with a magnificent ambience, air conditioning, good quality finishes, adequate parking, private garden, AstroTurf football pitch, swimming pool, fitted kitchen among other recreational facilities.

Specifically, these estates have been conceptualized as medium but upscale residential schemes, targeted to redefine the Nation’s housing industry in a significant way. At the moment, EssentialHomes projects are currently ongoing in 4 strategic locations – Lekki, Ajah, Oworo and Abeokuta. Infrastructural facilities that come with the scheme are roads, walkways, streetlights, CCTV, purified water, central sewage system, 24-hour power supply.
At the moment, organised private sectors from some blue chip companies have come together under cooperatives and groups in order to take headlong the housing challenges for a lot of the employees. Financial institutions backing the scheme are Imperial Homes Mortgage, Zenith, FCMB and Heritage Banks.

The concept of EssentialHomes was borne out of the passion to relief the burden of homelessness among middle-class level Nigerians To make the product more competitive and viable, GIG had acquired land bank through joint ventures with some cooperatives of multi-national companies and had constructed a 3.8 km access road, which would further boost development along the Lekki corridor.

Finally, commitment to create affordable housing should be in ample supply. When the commitment has been located and activated, and when it is joined with necessary funding, and in creative partnership, the prospects of ensuring affordable houses for all the people will be much brighter.

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