Viewpoint Housing —
To reduce the nation’s housing gap, experts have urged governments to provide incentives that will increase private sector participation in mass housing schemes.
They also called for a review of mortgage policy to increase housing production. The Chief Executive Officer, Octo5 Holdings, Mr. Babajide Odusolu led the call in Lagos, during the handover of Heron’s Beak Residences, a vertical community of medium-rise apartments within Ocean Bay Estate to beneficiaries.
He stressed that increased collaboration would make private developers acquire viable land and build more homes to address the housing gap.
Odusolu said there was an urgent need to build homes with good infrastructure, adding that the World Bank estimates that Nigeria would need at least 700,000 units of housing to meet its deficit.
He said: “Efforts such as the National Social Housing Programme, set up by the government to make social housing a reality, are commendable.
“However, funding is a major challenge towards meeting the huge demand, hence the need for more private investors.
“Governments at states and federal levels should offer fiscal incentives to capable developers and guarantee off-takers for public sector workers.
He said that the changing demographics of housing demands, require varied solutions and which should not only be addressed by government alone.
Odusolu said that the key to meeting growing demand for housing was to innovate solutions that empowered young professionals and families to own or rent homes with ease.
He stressed that projects like Heron’s Beak Residences were deliberately designed to encourage and meet the needs of young families and many professionals who now work remotely.
Odusolu added that until average professionals could own homes through monthly income or mortgages, the housing problem would remain insurmountable.
“When the Heron’s Beak Residences project was flagged off, the off-plan introductory prices were deliberately made low to encourage early investors, and subscribers that took advantage of the offers had postive capital gains.
“We are committed to making housing accessible and affordable using several housing solutions,” he said. Also, the Chief Financial Officer, Octo5 Holdings, Mrs. Tundun Aderibigbe, stressed the need for governments to review the nation’s mortgage policy.
Aderibigbe noted that the mortgage policy as presently constituted make long-term single-digit interest housing loans impossible.
According to her, there is need to make long-term single digit interest housing loans available to Nigerians for more people to own their homes.
She said: “The rules of how mortgage institutions should work should be reviewed to be more international. Here mortgage seems to be more of a decade if you are lucky, but all over the world, it is a lifetime affair.
So, if we have some fiscal policies that can make it easier for mortgage banks to offer long-term facilities, which create a pool of funds that can be deployed towards mass housing, I think those policies can be worked out better than they are now.”
An investor in one of the Octo5 Holdings properties, Mrs. Florence Oladejo, expressed satisfaction with the speed of completion of projects in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic challenges.