• Thursday, April 18, 2024
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Price of iron rods outpaces cement in test for homebuilders

Price of iron rods outpaces cement in test for homebuilders

Almost on a daily basis, the hope of owning affordable homes dims as the prices of major building materials, notably cement and iron rods, are rising persistently as if markets are shutting down.

Matters seem to be coming to a head with the hike in iron rods prices outpacing what has been seen so far with the price of cement. In less than 30 days, the price of cement rose by over 100 percent from between N5,000 and N5,500 in January to between N12,000 and N13,000 in February 2024.

Read also: Cement: Retailers, not manufacturers, responsible for rising prices—Dealer

Prices of iron rods, also called reinforcements, which come in various thickness or measurements, have also gone up in a manner that diminishes what buyers have experienced with the rise in cement price.

In a matter of days, the price of 16mm rod has risen from N8,500 to N18,500 and that shows exactly N10,000 prices increase, representing over 100 percent increase.

Both cement and rods are very important components of building and construction materials. Rods are of different sizes for different uses. Structural engineers recommend 12mm, 16mm, 20mm, 25mm, 10mm, or 8mm, depending on the strength of the material and other design specifications.

Iron rods are generally used for load-bearing purposes and they include cold steel, pressed steel, hot deformed bars, and mild steel plain bars. The type commonly used in enhancing the strength of concrete in beams and pillars or columns of buildings falls under the hot rolled deformed bars.

These are the most popular of all rod-types and they are commonly used in building houses. They are the ones whose prices have jumped recently. But, for small-to-medium-scale projects, 6mm, 8mm and 10mm bar sizes will economically do the work without adding unnecessary weight to the building, according to experts.

Read also: Dangote Cement, NB lead consumer goods firms in tax expense

Many Nigerians have lamented the high cost of building materials, contending that the ripple effects are not just about discouraging investment in housing or shrinking the job opportunities which it creates, but also narrowing the chances of more people leaving the house market.

Though Nigerians are still waiting to see the impact of the government’s intervention and the presidential directive to manufacturers to reduce cement price, experts are already calling on the government to declare a state of emergency on the building materials sub-sector.

“With a staggering housing deficit estimated at 28 million units as of 2023, and a homeownership level that is just 25 percent of the country’s over 200 million population, Nigeria should be intentional about affordable housing delivery,” Olufunso Adebayo, a property consultant, said.

He said that the government has to act fast on making sure that what is obviously an oligopoly in the cement industry is broken or make good its threat of opening the borders for cement imports.

According to Smith Ezenagu, MD/CEO of Esso Properties Limited, everybody is talking about cement alone but it’s not just it because there are other materials like rod and sand.

“In fact, if nothing is done to curb the current prices of building materials in Nigeria, we might get to a point where shelter will become a luxury and not a basic necessity. Apart from the government stepping in like they are doing to curb these things, I believe this is the time we explore alternative buildings like wooden houses and others,” he said in an interview with pressmen in Lagos.

Ezenagu noted that rising cost of materials is a major problem in the real estate industry and the consequence, according to him, is that developers are pulling out of sites and if nothing is done to curb this and get things to a level of stability, there would be a very major crisis in the industry soon.

Read also: Cement prices drop to N8000 in northern Nigeria following government intervention

He disclosed that he started a project in the Epe area of Lagos in October last year when he bought a trip of sand for sand-filling at the cost of N37,000. “Three months after in January, I started a project in one of my estates in Ibeju Lekki, Emerald Garden Estate, and I bought sand at the rate of N90,000. That’s an almost 200 percent increase in price in just three months,” he lamented.