Kingsley U.N Chikwendu
Affordability is influenced by economic factors like monetary policies, human and material resources, employment including the hardship brought by the coronavirus pandemic. We are trying to look at how the government can take housing affordability issues more serious by partnering with REDAN and other establishments related to housing, key into and develop more affordable housing for Nigerians.
Even prior to the outbreak of covid-19, there was an existing deficit in housing which has always prompted the call for affordable housing for the people. Covid-19 further heightened the clamor for government to act more by providing increase access for the provision of affordable houses for Nigerians. This is particularly referring to the low income earners that are already struggling to cater for their immediate families, they bear the brunt of the harsh conditions/realities that come with living in unhygienic environments.
Millions of persons have already lost their jobs and many will find it difficult to get a new job in quick succession, bearing in mind the unemployment rate we have in the country today. If the government can make housing very affordable for these sets of people with low interest rates and those amongst the masses that can take advantage of it, it will not only be better off for direct families but, the society in general.
Today, affordability is more of a challenge because of the imbalance between the demand and supply sides of housing. So, this is just telling us that the unmatched levels between supply and demand is becoming a real problem to meeting up with affordable housing. For several years, there has been an issue of huge demand for affordable housing that has not been matched with the expected supply.
Considering the way, the government has handled housing issues in the country, the rate at which supply is going, may not improve significantly in years to come, except the government can do more.
As the government look at ways to providing solutions to these issues that have plagued mostly the low income earners, there are also other opportunities like production of houses and other housing innovations to fill in some other housing affordability gaps.
Our society today has a huge gulf in class between the rich and low income earners that make up mostly the poor. So, it is important for the government to provide low down payment plans or connect these low income earners with various mortgage friendly options.
To achieve this, the government and stakeholders in the housing sector in the country should partner with the Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria [REDAN] under the administration of Alhaji Aliyu Wamakko and its Rural Urban Housing Initiative [RUHI] 774, reach out more across all housing environments, work with local government authorities to help smoothen the processes that will lead to low income earners having their own homes. The RUHI 774 will go a massive way to providing jobs for citizens at the local government level, keeping them off the streets, curtailing or eliminating criminal activities and adding more to their standard of living.
The government should work with Manufactures Association of Nigeria, housing professionals and mortgage institutions to support intending homeowners or renters. They should be accurate and friendly in the provision of essential information needed by these intending homeowners.