Kingsley U.N Chikwendu
Before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the growth pace of Nigeria’s real estate sector was considerably encouraging, aided by rapid urbanization and high demand for housing. The housing sector was once valued at N6.4trn (about $39bn), with a 10% growth rate annually [CBO Capital, January 2015].
With various housing policies created and embarked on by different successive government, the delivery of affordable housing has not met the increasing rate of demand. The consequence of this is, as far as affordable housing is concerned, both for outright owning or rental, the country is far undersupplied. Many cannot still afford to buy a house, especially in major cities that are reserved for the elites or high income earners.
Maybe, those in government have not understood the massive economic benefits that come with investing in the housing sector massively. In many ways, the Nigerian environment is an ideal ground for real estate development, it has the ideal huge population, a growing middle class and rapid urbanization rate.
The private sector has not been given the needed support to contribute to the development of affordable housing as it is mainly seen as the responsibility of the government, the private sector/developers see the development of affordable houses mostly as potential means of income.
Given the scale of demand for affordable housing by the citizens, providing access to it should be a priority for the Nigerian authorities. The government should look at creating and enforcing policies that will see all housing bodies related to mortgage activities work in synergy to make the provision of affordable housing a reality for the masses, especially, the low income earners.
Example, if the Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC) which was created and aimed at lowering the cost of mortgages by buying up packages of existing loans and providing guarantees to commercial lenders, works alongside with the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria [FMBN] that is also mandated at providing low-cost, state-financed mortgages through the National Housing Fund (NHF) that is accountable for contributions gotten from public and private sector employees, it will make it a lot easier for those in need of mortgage loans to build decent affordable houses for themselves or rather still finance some estates which will be put on rent to own.