BusinessDay

Experts brainstorm on Nigeria’s housing deficit at 2020 Real Estate Outlook

Experts in the real estate sector have discussed on ways to address Nigeria’s housing deficit at the recently held fourth edition of the Real Estate Outlook.

The event themed ‘Repositioning Nigeria’s Real Estate Industry for a New Decade’ which held at Landmark Towers in Lagos, brought together stakeholders who spoke extensively on ways to make homes affordable for the average Nigerians and how government policies can help make this a reality.

Speaking at the event, Tobi Adama, CEO Alphacrux Limited said infrastructure upgrade can help address housing deficit in Nigeria.

“If we can look at the area of infrastructure critically in partnership with the government, this challenge can be solved. The reason why people want to live on the Island is because of proximity to work. If you are not working on the island, you won’t want to be on the island. We need to look at the use of waterways, helicopters and trains as means of transportation to various destinations. So if you will marry all these different approaches together, then I think we will get somewhere,” Adama said.

He stressed that with Lagos being over populated, there are still spaces to develop more properties in other States but because Lagos is a commercial hub, you find this peculiar problem with Lagos.

He suggested that with the rise of private properties especially at the Lekki corridors, infrastructure upgrade should be taken into consideration.

“If it takes me 30 minutes on a bus from Ekpe to Victoria Island and I find a property in Ekpe is cheaper, a lot of people will move to the outskirts. I think that as we are tackling the housing deficit, we should also be tackling infrastructure deficit.

“We are already in deficit and what I always tell people is that we need to classify what deficit is. Most of the times, what people can afford, they don’t like but what they like, they cannot afford,” Adama said.

He explained that the real estate industry in Nigeria is still at its infancy stage because there are so much that Nigeria have not tapped into and that is the reason why Alphacrux decided to have the Real Estate Outlook programme, so as to bring many stakeholders in the real estate industry together and look for avenues to increase the contribution of the real estate industry to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product, (GDP).

Ayo Ibaru, chief operations officer at northcourt real estate said Nigeria is underestimating the size and complexity of housing deficit problem as a country, adding that the government needs to establish a framework under which affordable housing components can play.

“You can say affordable housing as many times as you want but if there isn’t a place where the developers, investors and end users can plug in, it will just be a pipe dream. By framework, I mean what are the conditions the government is willing to create to ensure a win-win solution for everyone?

“This idea of developers, financiers, investors, professionals coming together to invest their time and money in a third world economy without any form of return is something we should forget very quickly,” Ibaru said.

He suggested that government needs to have strong framework, get the legal process, take it through the senate and get it signed after which the government can now start funding and allocating land.

“While we are trying to sort out the land use act, let us look for other alternatives. If we don’t have a house that has funding opportunities and is less than N5million, I am not sure we have started dealing with the affordability issue,” he said.

Ibaru also suggested implementation of social housing, where the government can decide to take large lands usually in areas that are far from the city and build 1000 to 5000 units, adding that Nigeria cannot solve 17 million housing deficit with 100 or 300units.

 

Ifeoma Okeke

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