Kingsley U.N Chikwendu,
When things not foreseen happen, they disrupt both short and long term plans especially when there are little or no back-up plans to match these unforeseen circumstances. The Nigerian housing industry was affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Though, it brought out new ways of going about our daily activities however, it affected the housing industry in ways that were not anticipated from the initial stages of the subsequent lockdown that followed and as time preceded with the virus.
Economy wise, initially, it was thought that this could lead to a massive decline of the housing market, rather, it enlightened many to understand the high significance of affordable decent housing. Some prices of houses increased while others dropped.
As a result of the lockdown, most landlords were either getting little or no payments from their tenants while some tenants were made homeless; others till date are finding it difficult to continue with their rent payments while the rest are a paycheck away from being thrown out of their homes. Being unable to meet up with house rents, arrears are increasing while many may be behind schedule in paying back mortgage loans.
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This is the consequence of the past and present governments’ failure to prioritize the need for adequate housing of the masses especially, the low income earners and make the housing market more efficient.
Today, looking at the mortgage system, it is very complex to lend or approve loans for those especially the low income earners who are willing to own homes but do not have required resources. The younger ones who are mostly unemployed have been badly hit and some have lost their jobs or see their incomes greatly reduced. Presently, uncertainty still lies ahead, going by the second wave of complete or minimal lockdown that is already on.
The government and housing authorities are either not still responsive to housing supply or slow to the provision of it, it is not helped by the knowledge that housing demands are going higher and when demand for houses increases, prices go up too. The masses especially the poor and average are at the receiving end of it.
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Hopefully, a sustained rational approach, empathy wise, is the way forward to improving the housing conditions of the poor and average citizens. Much was even expected of the government to act more effectively in housing development. The construction of 300,000 housing units was launched under the Economic Sustainability Plan by the Buhari led government but, with the way it is going even in as response to the coronavirus pandemic, those in authorities are expected to improve on its mindset if at all the housing deficit in the country will be hugely reduced.