With Nigerians housing deficit still increasing rapidly, it is of no news that housing for all is vital and essential to the common man but looking at how the real estate performance declined by -2.71 per cent. Production in the commercial real estate segment was in a slight decline in quarter two of 2020, as projects both by the private developers and government were halted with very low transactions due to COVID-19 restriction protocols.
On this note, professionals in the housing sector are calling on the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to create an enabling environment that will allows people to invest in the real estate and home ownership.
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Some of Nigeria’s urban households who rented accommodation in the cities were forced to relocate to the suburbs where houses are relatively cheaper and even at such most of those houses are beyond the reach of many Nigerians who are salary earners. Most of urban dwellers pay between N1.5 million to N1.8 million for their apartment, while the cost of purchasing an apartment starts from about N10 million, depending on the location and finishing.
Amid these, operators also contended with the pervading inadequate/high mortgage interest rate, high cost of land, under-funding of the real estate sector, non-implementation of housing policies, and corruption, which still loom large.
The president of, Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP), Toyin Ayinde, said the year 2020 posed quite a number of challenges for the real estate and construction sector, especially the first four months of the year when the nation was on lockdown. This development, he stated disturbed the supply chain and construction workers. Although those in design were able to design from home, but construction couldn’t be done from home and those who supply couldn’t supply from home.
“There was a disruption to the normal flow of activities in the construction sector, stressing that the vandalism that followed the EndSARS protest caused the destruction of the limited real estate developments.
“The destruction was a loss to the stock we had and was a setback for the construction industry. The places burnt are also an opportunity to look for a better replacement and re-planning for areas destroyed,” he said.
He recalled that practice by professionals was limited as timed projects couldn’t be completed, especially those who could have held their stakeholders’ forum for feedback on a project couldn’t do anything until after the lockdown.
Ayinde noted that the construction sector has been one of the most disadvantaged in terms of government’s interventions.
The President, Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), Sir Emma Wike, observed that most of the properties that were project-managed by its members were halted because there was no fund to provide building materials to sites due to the lockdown, adding that the development delayed the completion of several projects.
He also noted challenges associated with foreign exchange for importation of building materials, which adversely impacted the cost of buildings.
According to him, for properties that were already developed and occupied, users were forced to stay at home because of COVID-19 protocols. This, he noted, affected members’ productivity.
“It was not an easy period for estate surveyors and valuers, including those who are into projects, facility management, property management, valuation of plants, and machinery.”
According to him, with the new threat by the federal government to impose another lockdown, the nation would face a worse scenario in 2021.
We are urging the government to do more in terms of provision of affordable housing, because social distancing can’t be effective without decent accommodation.