About 70 percent of Nigerians can own houses in the cities with ease if innovative strategies available to some experts are accepted and adopted by the federal and state governments.
According to a group lifestyle Hub pushing mass housing with cheap funds headed by an expert, Alloy Emeka China, who goes by the business name the Mayor of Housing, social funding strategy can deliver top houses cheaply to over 70 percent of Nigerians.
Speaking at a seminar in Port Harcourt on Sunday, China said a public private partnership (PPP) arrangement where the housing scheme is driven by the private expert will do the trick. He said state governments can participate in the solution lifestyle Hub has discovered by giving civil servants the N2m minimum contribution required per contributor to access the scheme.
“This is between the Rivers State Government and ReefCourt Estate. Governments can be dynamic in how they execute public housing schemes,” China said at ReefCourt Estate where the first 10 units of 4-bedroom duplex with swimming pool on top would spring up in the coming months.
“Why housing projects fail is because governments handle it themselves because it is not profit and value-driven. Our people have how they handle government projects, but when it is privately and value-driven, the people will drive it more. So, instead of the government to do it, they should look out for companies that have proved themselves and give them the execution to handle.
“Instead of the people paying the N2m on their own, the government can give all the civil servants in Rivers State a loan of N2m and they pay back gradually through their salaries and each person would end up owning luxury apartments in the city. Government should be more proactive and more diligent and choose companies that deliver value like ours,” he said.
The Mayor of Housing said his own houses in the scheme are worth N1bn and explained the concept of social funding as different from crowd funding.
“Social funding is something I am excited about because that is the first time in the history of the world that people can play in the playground of the rich. You can own a duplex in a highbrow debt free and mortgage free in a city centre. You can own N150m worth of buildings in a city centre. This system is designed for workplace professionals because we notice that people work for over 15 years without owning a land or house. Mortgage penetration in Nigeria is just 0.5 percent against 82 percent in South Africa and some other places.
“We are doing this just to make sure that people can access real estate. With social funding, 70 percent of Nigerians can access home ownership. I usually say that any solution that is not affordable is no solution,” he said.
On why the company seemed to focus on highbrow centres, he said, “This is because this is our premium package of 4-bedroom smart apartment targeted at the professional working class. Later in the year, we launch our low-cost package of two-bedroom, one bedroom, and even self-contained apartments in lower residential areas. We will be the first company in Nigeria to sell such. They would be located in some other areas to represent such perspectives.
“We are very different and unique in multiple ways. First, we are not selling houses but solution. The plan is to give you a house worth N150m at N85m at first instance and make savings of N55m. Then, we have strategies to sell same house at different amounts of entry points such as N2m, N4m, or N16m. But, we are not selling house or land but education, selling collaboration and cooperation, which was Nigeria’s early practice.
“We are bringing dreams to Nigerians so they can play in the real estate sector. I had a dream and I started with a mere N1.5m three years back. With hard work, I am worth N1Bn from eight houses. We are turning your rent into a home, or the money you would use to buy land outside the city to now own a duplex in the city centre with same amount.
“Our houses are very unique because we came up with two innovations plus value. We are the first company in Nigeria to render commercial buildings with rooftop swimming pool. We are the first to build inter-terrace linkage. Others are not linked and you would need to go around to access your backyard. It comes with fully automatic goggle smart system, full fire and burglary insurance. It comes tastefully finished as never before.”
Urging Nigeria to return to the practice of cooperative business that built the nation, he said everybody deserves a home and Nigerians are smarter than they are made to believe.
“The prosperity of Nigeria came on the back of cooperative system. The biggest house in Nigeria then (Cocoa House in Ibadan) was built by Cooperative. The groundnut pyramid was the sweat of cooperatives. If we look within, we can do it again. Collaboration is the new competition and we have that spirit. Sprits don’t die. They only get dormant. We can activate it again, and with social funding, many problems in Nigeria would be solved’,” he said. Business Day