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Still on the Search for Affordable Homes

-By Danlami Nasir Isah

Statistics from the World Bank has shown that Nigerian housing deficit units now stands at over 17 million. This is just as rural-urban migration is on the rise as people increasingly migrate from rural to urban places for job opportunities and better living.

This development has raised concerns among experts in the property sector and why the Federal Government must be proactive in ensuring the housing deficit gap is bridged.

Except the Federal Government and private developers focus more on production of homes for the low-income earners, existing deficit in the supply end of the market may continue to rise, experts have warned.

Analysts on different fora have identified funding as one of the major factors that can cause turn-around in the housing sector. According to them, government needs to improve funding for the provision of affordable homes at lower prices for the middle and lower classes of the society, who are left out in the quest for affordable homes.

Similarly, a property expert and the managing director, of REFin Homes, Olatunde Macaulay at an event identified collaboration with private sector to solve housing challenges in the country.

He challenged stakeholders to complement government’s effort by providing alternative housing solutions which will aid in changing the narrative and also bridge the over 17 million housing deficit that has been lingering for over a decade.

Macaulay, a housing expert said the major issue in the sector is the absence of affordable homes for the majority of people who are mostly low-income earners stressing that the market favours the rich and the high networth individuals.

Speaking further, he said the government can’t handle the existing deficit alone, but should create an enabling environment for private operators through the provision of infrastructure like, good road network, and efficient transportation, water and power supply as well as reduction in the prices of building materials.

For him, “focus should be on providing affordable housing for the people based on what they want and what they could afford. Make and design flexible enough packages for the people to pay and contribute towards housing on monthly basis.

“There has to be public/private partnerships and other private institutions such as ours, to help the government in reducing this huge housing deficit as soon as possible. We are excited to add new projects development pipeline.

“This aligns with our strategy of building presence in Nigerian real estate market and to add momentum to plans to grow the market share over time,” he said.

Need for improved financing and tax rebate

It has become very important for improved finance support in the housing market by government as it will aid Nigerians to own their homes at affordable prices.

This is because many Nigerians work tirelessly to earn and end up handing over the monies to their landlords at the end of the year, a situation which has been described as “Unfortunate” by stakeholders.

Therefore, from all indications, there is a need to give a tax rebate to manufacturers of building materials for building materials to be accessible to builders, government policy on accessing home finance for Nigerians must be friendly.

Although government is carrying out some policies in that area, more needs to be done in the long run especially when Nigeria’s population is far outmatching it’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

These policies will fast track and advance market growth and guarantee the quality and standard of living at all times.

Consequently, shelter being one of man’s necessities, Nigeria’s rising population must be catered for and provided modest accommodation so that the country’s population will be productive and be assets to Nigeria rather than liability.