(Our Stand — 55) —
Despite the fact that prices and scarcity of oil and gas products get the attention today when inflation is talked about, there is another sector that seem to be ignored and the numbers have been soaring high – that is increase in rents and housing purchase. With these increases persisting, Nigeria’s affordable housing crisis will continue, due to the lack of supply in housing and persistent low incomes for workers.
Rent prices have moved up on an equal footing with upsurge in prices of houses for purchase and as many persons (low and medium income earners) are priced out of buying a home, it has increased the pressure in prices of rent. Most landlords take advantage of this and increase in prices of commodities in the market, to increase their rents. Increased price in house rents and that of buying a house reflect the lack of housing supply faced in a country.
When prices of commodities/items go up, with a decreased value in purchasing power (currency), it leads to inflation and this affects the provision of affordable housing for the people. The value of the currency decreases while prices of materials surge up, it has a toiling effect on the low income earners who would have spent almost all they have before seeing a little value of what has been bought.
Housing which is one of the core essentials of living becomes affected in the face of increase in prices of items that make up other key essentials of life – like food and clothing. One must prioritize what to wear first before seeking what to eat, then finding a place to put his head.
When a house struggle to meet the feeding and clothing needs of the home, due to every day upsurge in prices of items, then, what is left to take care of housing becomes minimal. They manage to create a shelter not conducive for dwelling, just to have a roof over their heads. This is not helped by the low income wage they get everyday or at the end of the month.
The combination of these increase prices unmatched with wages entails purchase or renting of an affordable home is out of reach for millions of low-income workers and families in the country.
Long-term wise and maybe, there are no quick fixes to both housing supply and the problem of low income, housing costs and demand have been allowed to rise while supply has not gone side by side with them.
On the income side, the country has failed to look into minimum wage for increase, support trade unions, and take other steps to boost incomes for workers in the country. And, as inflation and housing numbers currently show, we are paying the price for failed policies of the past…
…to be continued.