To boost home ownership, experts in the real estate sector have called for holistic implementation of housing policy capable of addressing infrastructural and mortgage challenges in the industry.
Currently, about 108 million Nigerians are estimated to be homeless, based on an average family of six people per housing unit, which has robbed her teeming population the comfort that a good house brings.Also, homeownership rate in the country is put of 25 per cent, lower than that of Indonesia (84 per cent), Kenya (73 per cent), and South Africa (56 per cent).
Experts who spoke to The Guardian at the sideline of a housing summit organized by LifePage Real Estate in Lagos, lamented the poor rate of home ownership in the country, and urged government to partner private sector on infrastructure, mortgage system and data documentation.
Chief Executive officer, the Common Sense Estate Development Project, Dr. Olumide Emmanuel, who led discussions at the summit, said the segmentation of policies in piecemeal would not address the housing challenges.
According to him, what is required at this time is a holistic approach involving private sector to meet the housing needs of Nigerians, which is second in the hierarchy of needs after food. Dr. Emmanuel stressed that collaboration is needed to address the housing issues as government alone cannot do it, the government, the private sector have to come together to proffer a solution.
Such collaboration, he said, should come in the area of provision of infrastructure, data documentation to ease mortgage as well as financing. “In the United Kingdom it is possible to have a house between Lagos and Akure but you can get there in less than 30 minutes because there are fast trains.“In the United States, if you are buying plots of land, there are already infrastructure, where you can connect your light, sewage and everything but that is not the case because you have to provide your infrastructure which is expensive and nobody will not want to do that even with cheap land.
“In other climes, people don’t pay rents pay annum, they pay per month, one of the reasons we have corruption is that we earn income monthly but we spend yearly, so how do you expect someone to pay two year’s rents. This is the area government and private sectors can collaboration and find solution”, he added.
Dr Emmanuel said another area the private sectors can assist government in tackling homelessness is by educating the public on how to approach their housing needs, stressing that housing education is still low in the country.According to him, more summits are still needed to empower Nigerians on how they can address their housing needs, thereby helping in reducing the deficits.
Also, an investment expert, Mrs. Subomi Plumptre said addressing the homeownership crisis will require the private sectors to build a viable and visual brands in order to unlock the wealth.For the Chief Executive Officer of Lifepage group, Mr. Clement Oladipupo, a collaborative effort with government is imperative to attract the finance needed to meet the housing challenges in the country. He said that the summit was staged to ensure that people own their homes as well as create durable wealth. Real estate, he said is not just a vehicle to create wealth but also a veritable means of preserving wealth.
According to him, for the mortgage system to properly address the home ownership challenges, government has a big role to play because developers do not have much power as they could, because of the high cost of funding in the country.Oladipupo said long term solution like data intelligence is required in the system where before you can access mortgage one should be able to track the lender through his international passports, phones and bank accounts.
“Tracking people is not easy and it has put financial institutions in a difficult corner. If I cannot track you it makes mortgage very difficult”, he added.