Our Stand (78) —
After the coronavirus pandemic disrupted economic activities in 2019, extending to 2021, with the Naira redesign policy affecting real estate business, the sector has been trying to rebound as the entire business environment in the country suffered from factors like high exchange rates and inflation.
Although, the sector did not perform badly in 2021, considering the severity of the pandemic, many expected it to be a lot better. During this period, many persons were just focused on how to survive. But, as the months rolled by, we began witnessing some level of improvement.
The sector recorded about 3.85 percent growth in the second quarter of 2021 and expanded in the third quarter, indicating marginal growth levels. Despite these figures reflecting some measure of growth, it has not reflected wholesomely in improved production of affordable homes.
Major cities in the country look attractive because of the many luxury houses bult, as developers flood these cities to meet with demands. As the corona virus pandemic left majority of persons out of work, there were many that struggled to make daily ends meet. Despite these struggles by the majority (average citizens, the low income earners), this has not halted property boom in our cities, many are still building luxury homes. With an available number of persons willing to spend, many new luxury homes are been built.
The country is still growing, as are some of its citizens. As many are aspiring to live in better houses in good locations, with the basic amenities available, they engage in activities that could see them grow.
Real estate business in the country is not regulated as it should by appropriate laws, barring efforts made by the Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN) to control activities in the housing sector. In cases of prices, most developers dictate the prices they feel is commensurate to expenses made while developing houses. For obvious reasons, there are many who are readily willing to pay for houses at exorbitant rates and as a result, here are no shortage in demand of high rent or purchase apartments. Prices of some of these luxury apartments go for as high as a hundred million naira and above. Some are expected to make down payments, paying heavy sums in installments covering months or years before the houses are finally ready.
It is sarcastic to expect a low income earner in the country to afford these type of prices, as majority are under the minimum wage of not more than thirty thousand Naira. Many are forced to seek for properties on the outskirts of our cities. Some of these properties on the outskirts are not properly built or not of the standards they are expected to carry, like those in the cities.
Though, the federal government has always assured of plans in place and policies been formulated for the production of affordable housing for the teeming populace in the country, it is however, advised that it needs to build at least not less than 25 million homes on a long term plan – this can be achieved with the right necessary approach. Although, the country presently, is no where near that but, if it is to make a big mark or improvement on the already existing housing deficit in the country, the government must start building at least a million homes annually.
It is true that the country may be facing economic problems but, the government should set for itself as an objective a target of producing houses annually in the quantity mentioned above. This is said, because successive governments in the country have not taken the housing sector seriously like they have done on other sectors.
More social intervention programmes are expected from the in coming government. They should understand that some of the funds or revenue gotten by the government can be channeled to housing development and taking care of housing needs in the country. It can help boost legitimacy of a ruling government. It is evident to note that the interest of the common man on the street has not been made a priority, this is seen today with the extent of hardship and negative vices on the rise in our communities.
With unemployment figures on the rise, and prices of houses upsurging, those on the low income cadre may never leave to see their chances of living in quality affordable homes come to fruition.